Mobile

Another Symbian blow: Nokia sells off business side of Qt development framework

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If you need more proof that Nokia is looking to rid itself of the Symbian mobile operating system, here it is: The company announced today that it will sell parts of its Qt development framework, which was initially billed as a way to easily create apps for Symbian and other platforms, to Digia, a Finnish software company. Digia buys the software licensing and professional service business from Nokia. Nokia will still be in charge of developing the framework.

Through the proposed acquisition, around 3500 desktop and embedded customer companies from various industries are targeted to be transferred to Digia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of March. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nokia will continue to invest in future development of Qt, and Digia will be responsible for commercial licensing and services business. Considering the moves Nokia has been making lately it will be only a matter of time until the company will sell the rest of Qt.

Just a couple of months ago Qt (pronounced cute) was a crucial part of software development for Nokia phones. Software developers could use the Qt framework to develop applications simultaneously for multiple operating systems, including Nokia’s Symbian and Meego operating systems. In addition Qt was considered easier and faster to use than previous software development tools for Symbian.  Nokia was also planning to make Qt to support Googles smartphone operating system Android.

In addition to smartphone operating systems, Qt is a great tool for developers to create applications on a wide variety of web-based platforms.

Nokia bought Qt from the Norwegian company Trolltech in 2008 for $153 million.  The first Nokia-made Qt APIs were launched last September.

After Nokia’s decision to start using Windows Phone 7  as its primary smartphone OS, a move which killed off MeeGo’s future and pointed to the end of Symbian, Qt is no longer that important to Nokia.

Digia plans to employ 19 persons from Nokia’s technical consulting services team and global Qt Commercial sales and marketing teams. The company will also open offices in the United States and Norway.

The existing commercial customers represent a broad range of industries. There are customers in consumer electronics, finance, aviation, energy, defence and media.

Digia plans to emphasize Qt in the desktop and embedded environments and to examine new support models and functionality requests.  Digia will provide commercial customers with improvements in support and functionality for older platforms that were not on the Nokia development roadmap.

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