Digia to acquire Qt business from Nokia

Qt logoFinnish software company Digia announced today that it is acquiring the Qt software business from Nokia. Digia plans to pick up where Nokia left off: continuing Qt development, but renewing the toolkit’s focus on cross-platform support. The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Qt is an open source software development toolkit that was originally created by Norwegian software company Trolltech. Nokia acquired Trolltech in 2008 and subsequently transitioned Qt to an open governance model and a more permissive licensing scheme. Nokia had originally intended to use Qt to provide a unified development framework that would work across Symbian and MeeGo.

Nokia’s decision to abandon its existing mobile platforms in favor of Windows Phone 7 raised some questions about what the failing phone giant would do with Qt. Rumors that the toolkit would soon be sold surfaced earlier this month, alongside news that Nokia was shutting down Qt offices in Australia. In our coverage, we noted that Digia, which acquired the Qt commercial licensing business from Nokia last year, was a likely candidate for buying the remaining Qt assets.

The deal is likely going to be good news for the many application developers who rely on Qt. It will put an end to uncertainty about the toolkit’s future, ensuring that development will continue in the hands of a company with a platform-neutral agenda. Qt is increasingly important in the mobile space—where it is used by HP and RIM—but it’s also important on the desktop, where it is used by Adobe, Amazon, Google, Skype, and many others.

Digia says that it’s going to bring back a strong focus on the desktop and will introduce support for Windows 8. The company will also expand official support for the toolkit to additional mobile platforms, including Android and iOS. Those are all areas that were neglected to some extent under Nokia’s stewardship.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Qt team to Digia. By adding this world-class organization to our existing team we plan to build the next generation leading cross-platform development environment,” said Digia’s International Products SVP Tommi Laitinen in a statement. “Now is a good time for everyone to revisit their perception of Qt. Digia’s targeted R&D investments will bring back focus on Qt’s desktop and embedded platform support, while widening the support for mobile operating systems.”

As part of the deal, up to 125 of Nokia’s Qt personnel, mostly from offices in Oslo and Berlin, will be joining Digia to continue working on the project. The company says that it also wants to work with the broader community of Qt contributors to continue advancing the project under open governance and open source licensing. They are also committed to ensuring that the upcoming Qt 5 release, which is expected to land soon, will go through as planned.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Nokia, technologies

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