Mobile OSs: And then there were 10

February 19, 2011, 10:26 PM UTC

Who remembers Maemo, imode, MeeGo or, for that matter, Windows Mobile?

Click to enlarge. Vertical line = the present. Source: Asymco

To counter Stephen Elop’s remark that by joining forces, Nokia (NOK) and Microsoft (MSFT) were going to make it a “three horse race” — implying that Apple’s (AAPL) iOS and Google’s (GOOG) Android were the only other viable mobile ecosystems in the running — Asymco‘s Horace Dediu did some digging and produced the chart at right.

It shows the lifespan of 16 major mobile operating systems, several of which have died and two more — Symbian and MeeGo — that Nokia seems ready to put out to pasture.

“What I find noteworthy,” writes Dediu, “is that there is an implied peculiar fatalism about the market when only two platforms are considered viable, neither of which are more than 3 years old. While visiting the Mobile World Congress, I sensed this jumping to conclusions about platforms was eerily similar to that of a few years ago when new entrants like Apple and Google were declared dead on arrival.”

For the rest of his post, click here.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]