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Nokia washes hands of Qt

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Nokia is flogging off the Qt commercial licensing and services business it acquired with Trolltech three years ago. Finnish software house Digia will pick up the business – and 19 developers from Nokia – for an undisclosed sum.

Nokia bought Trolltech, a Norwegian developer, for £153m in early 2008, and made its C++ frameworks the centrepiece of its developer strategy. Qt had already been used to build successful consumer software products such as Google Earth and the Skype client, and was licensed to in-house developers. The latter now encompasses some 3,500 seats, so it's a decent business.

Nokia hoped to use Qt as the basis for a unified Qt API across its different platforms, including Symbian and Linux. But poor management saw the engineering work meander down several dead ends. By the time Nokia finally launched the APIs last September, it had a new CEO, and the new CEO very quickly decided Qt wasn't enough to win back developers or customers for Nokia. Last month Nokia announced that Microsoft's Windows Phone would become its primary platform, and directed developers to investigate Microsoft tools and libraries.

Symbian's Linux has been relegated to a research project, but if you need to write a Symbian app in a hurry, Qt remains the quickest way of doing it.

"We want to emphasize our long-term commitment to Qt," said Sebastian Nyström, Nokia's head of Qt, in a blog post today. ®

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