Jolla shuffles executive ranks, COO Dillon elevated to CEO


Jolla, the Finnish startup building the open-source Sailfish mobile operating system, is reshuffling its executive team, elevating COO Marc Dillon to CEO.

According to a post on Jolla's official Twitter account, Dillon replaces former CEO Jussi Hurmola, who will focus on "Sailfish strategy" and move to the Jolla board of directors as the firm shifts its focus to "product delivery." Sailfish is slated to make its official debut next month at the Slush conference in Helsinki.

Dillon previously held a variety of senior engineering roles at Nokia (NYSE:NOK), where he worked on platforms including MeeGo (the basis for Sailfish), Symbian and S40. Jolla has not yet named a new COO to take over for Dillon.

Jolla began work on Sailfish in late 2011, stating "The OS has evolved from MeeGo OS using Mer Core and Qt, with Jolla technology including its own brand new UI." Hurmola has said Jolla will distribute Sailfish to device manufacturers free of charge, and the company plans to generate revenue by licensing proprietary software features and from intellectual property rights. "We're also looking into mobile advertising models as a potential source of revenue," Hurmola told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

Hurmola added that interest in the platform has increased in recent weeks as handset makers explore potential options to distance themselves from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, which is the focus of patent disputes between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other smartphone makers. "Much of the recent litigation between Apple and Android makers have touched upon user-interface infringement," Hurmola said. "Our software is well-patented, and we haven't copied anybody. That's a big opportunity for device makers."

Sailfish-based phones and tablets will support Android apps via OpenMobile's Application Compatibility Layer technology, which leverages the Android runtime environment and the Dalvik virtual machine to run all 600,000-plus native apps in the Google Play storefront.

MeeGo combines Nokia' former Maemo platform with Intel's former Moblin efforts. Nokia effectively halted its participation in the project in early 2011 after inking a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) that positions the software maker's Windows Phone mobile operating system as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Intel abandoned MeeGo roughly a year ago, throwing its support behind Tizen, the Linux-based cross-architecture device software platform backed by the Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation.

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