“Symbian became a religion inside Nokia”

In case some of you haven’t yet noticed, Nokia’s former boss for open source projects and Maemo/MeeGo Ari Jaaksi has spoken in public about what he considered went wrong with Maemo and later MeeGo. Jaaksi gave an interview for the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, but unfortunately it’s available only in Finnish.

To summarise, Ari Jaaksi claims Symbian had become a “religion inside Nokia”, a ”holy cow” to be respected and protected. Jaaksi told that when Nokia N900 was announced, the biggest worry was how it would affect Symbian, not if it was any good or would it sell.

Jaaksi tells the faith in Symbian finally started to falter inside Nokia too, but “Symbian dropped faster than anyone could expect”.

This interview has already been discussed a lot, see for example Nokia Gadgets or Maemo.org forums.

The timing for this interview was a bit bad, because it was apparently mostly done before HP announced they would kill  their webOS smartphones and tablets. Ari Jaaksi moved to HP from Nokia to lead the webOS development in October. In the interview Jaaksi briefly said he still believes the development of the webOS platform will continue, even though it’s difficult to communicate this. That’s the official word from HP until they decide what to do with it.

Jaaksi has a personal work related blog too, but he hasn’t updated it after HP’s news last week.

Some have critized Nokia is repeating old mistakes with the Nokia N9 MeeGo device (or Maemo 6/Harmattan, as many see it) by ”not allowing it to compete against Windows Phone devices”. Nokia has announced N9 won’t become available in many large markets, such as Germany, UK. or U.S.

I’ve personally met Ari many times and I know he’s a great guy, so I hope he’ll find interesting new projects in (the likely?) case HP decides to discontinue development of webOS.