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  • Writer's pictureSlashData Team

Nokia to acquire Trolltech! Trying to guess why….

Big news in our world! Check the press release.

Price (the offer values the company to 100 Millions Euros) is not so high compared to Trolltech technical and community assets (but high …looking at the actual company revenues of 22 Millions Euros). This is not a dot com acquisition. Period.

The next game would be to understand why.

Trolltech is providing a native development environment called Qt, which is a set of “OS services” (memory management, Thread, etc…) and is famous widget library. This environment has been ported on Desktop Linux, Windows, MacOS and embedded Linux: “Qt/embedded”, now called Qtopia Core , on top of which a nearly complete phone application stack has been built, Qtopia.

The framework allows C++ development but recently a java version surfaced: Qt Jambi

Trolltech provides also (and sell) some development tools: a RAD, QtDesigner, qMake a command line tool chain, a plugin for Visual Studio and some internationalization utilities.

While huge adoption in the mobile phone market remains to be seen, Qt is at the earth of one of the biggest OpenSource piece of sotfware: the KDE Linux Desktop (…father project of the now famous webkit browser engine).

So crossing with Nokia current strategy and ths interesting quote from the Nokia PR:

“Trolltech’s deep understanding of open source software and its strong technology assets will enable both Nokia and others to innovate on our device platforms while reducing time-to-market. This acquisition will also further increase the competitiveness of S60 and Series 40.”

Kai Öistämö , Executive Vice President, Devices, Nokia

Here are the different bets:

  1. It is widely known that the proprietary S40 is difficult to maintain and extend/modernize, porting Qt as a companion framework may allow Nokia to open it’s most widely used platform (S60 is negligeable compared to S40 market share) to third party developpers … and open source developpers.

  2. Nokia wants to have cross platform technologies to merge S60/S40 and desktop environment, so take advantage of the HUGE Qt developper pool.

  3. Nokia desperately needs a credible platform and a set of APIs to counter Android in the web services area…and the Java Qt makes sense here.

  4. Does Nokia has some ambitions for KDE to use it as its base OS for its forthcoming “Personal Computer”, touted as the next big thing and next strategy of Nokia?

Be prepared for a S40, a S60 Qt port …. and perhaps an opening of the S40 platform, at least for selected third parties.

Anyway I quite don’t get this …

  1. In Hildon regards, the Maemo Tablet OS running on the nokia Internet Tablet (n770, N800 and N810). This one is based on GTK, the Qt archrival on the Linux Desktop, uses a Mozilla based browser, so is in the opposite technical direction: will it be cancelled as it is to run a Qt based Tablet OS?

  2. For KDE Desktop: Dealing with a little company like Trolltech is something, having Nokia as the main backer of its framework is something else. How the OpenSource community will react?

What do you think Nokia has in mind?

Thomas

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