Can’t say I say that I saw this one coming. Nokia and Accenture today announced plans for a strategic collaboration in which Nokia would outsource its Symbian software activities and transition about 3,000 employees to Accenture. At the same time, Accenture would provide mobility software services to Nokia for future smartphones. This is a bit of shocking move from Nokia, this is like Apple outsourcing some else to make iOS or Google doing the same for Android. I guess internally Nokia really wants to focus on Windows Phone 7 development.
The collaboration, which is subject to final agreement, calls for Accenture to provide Symbian-based software development and support services, with the expected transition of about 3,000 Nokia employees to Accenture. The companies expect completion of the final agreement during summer 2011, and expect the transition of employees by the end of the calendar year 2011. Transitioning employees, located in China, Finland, India, United Kingdom and the United States, will initially work on Symbian software activities for Nokia. Over time, Accenture and Nokia will seek opportunities to retrain and redeploy transitioned employees.
This collaboration also includes plans for Accenture to provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem participants. Under the proposed agreement, Accenture would become a preferred partner for Nokia’s smartphone development activities, as well as a preferred provider of services. Accenture and Nokia have been working together since 1994. In October 2009, Accenture acquired Nokia’s professional services unit that provides engineering and support of the Symbian operating system to mobile device manufacturers and service providers, and which then served as a key building block in Accenture’s Mobility services portfolio. For Accenture the deal makes a lot of sense as Symbian is still a hugely popular mobile OS, in terms of numbers of phones currently in use. Let me caveat that most of those phones are lower-end phones and don’t speak to Symbian’s competiveness against Android, iOS and other mobile platforms.