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Oh my! Nokia are buying KDE!

Monday, 28 January 2008 kde linux nokia qt

Well that’s a bit of an overstatement. Nokia are buying the makers of the Qt library, by far the biggest component of KDE and KDE applications. Make no mistake, this is big news for both Nokia and Linux.

Nokia released a statement a few hours ago saying:

Espoo, Finland and Oslo, Norway - Nokia and Trolltech ASA today announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia will make a public voluntary tender offer to acquire Trolltech (www.trolltech.com), a company headquartered in Oslo, Norway and publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Trolltech is a recognized software provider with world-class software development platforms and frameworks. In addition to the key software assets, its talented team will play an important role in accelerating the implementation of Nokia’s software strategy.

The acquisition of Trolltech will enable Nokia to accelerate its cross-platform software strategy for mobile devices and desktop applications, and develop its Internet services business. With Trolltech, Nokia and third party developers will be able to develop applications that work in the Internet, across Nokia’s device portfolio and on PCs. Nokia’s software strategy for devices is based on cross-platform development environments, layers of software that run across operating systems, enabling the development of applications across the Nokia device range. Examples of current cross-platform layers are Web runtime, Flash, Java and Open C.

Trolltech have the same statement up on their website, accompanied by the some key points:

  1. The acquisition supports Trolltech’s company vision of driving Qt adoption in the commercial and open source markets (Qt Everywhere).
  2. The acquisition of Trolltech will enable Nokia to accelerate the cross-platform software strategy for mobile devices and desktop applications, and to develop its Internet services business.
  3. With Nokia, Trolltechs Qt technology will grow significantly in the PC and mass-volume mobile devices markets
  4. Nokia plans to continue to develop Trolltechs products and continue to drive sales to new and existing customers
  5. Acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and Trolltech shareholder approval

Speculate away!

I’ll edit this post once I’ve pondered.

Edit 1: It looks like Nokia are doing this primarily to acquire Trolltech’s mobile platform: Qtopia. But in a letter to the open source community, Trolltech have announced (PDF):

Nokia is committed to continue Trolltechs current open source engagements, including honoring the KDE Free Qt agreement, and we will seek to strengthen our support of KDE in the future. As a first step Nokia will apply to become a Patron of KDE*.

Awesome news for KDE. Perhaps Nokia might get around to releasing a cross platform version of their PC Suite/Firmware upgrading software.