Nokia is to sell its Qt Commercial software licensing and professional services business to Digia, a company that produces mobile and user experience services and products.
The Qt application framework was central to Nokia's strategy, because it allowed developers to write programs that would run across both Symbian and MeeGo. However, Nokia's strategy changed just under a month ago, when it decided to phase out Symbian and scrap plans for any major MeeGo launch, in order to focus on a new partnership with Microsoft around Windows Phone 7 — which does not use Qt.
On Monday, Nokia Qt chief Sebastian Nyström posted a blog in which he said "the Qt community will continue to benefit for years to come from further Nokia investment in Qt, primarily focused on areas such as Qt Quick, Qt WebKit and HTML 5 in addition to the ongoing work of improving performance and stability".
However, the Qt framework operates under a dual-licence model, allowing both open LGPL and commercial usage. According to Nyström, the commercial Qt professional services are "not core business activities for Nokia", and in 2010 the company started looking for a company to take over that side of Qt.
"We have now concluded that search and chosen to work with Digia," Nyström wrote. "As a consequence, Digia will acquire the Qt Commercial software licensing and professional services business from Nokia, with the transaction expected to close by the end of March 2011.
"Employing hundreds of Qt experts, Digia has seven years' experience in providing top-class Qt competence, and is dedicated to continue and grow Qt Commercial relationships as well as to contribute innovation to the overall Qt LGPL and commercial community."
Around 3,500 companies use Qt Commercial licensing, taking in sectors such as the defence and aerospace and medical device industries. According to Nokia, these companies will now deal with Digia, although Nokia's Qt technical support team will work closely with Digia for the next year.
"As part of the agreement, some members of Nokia's technical consulting services team, as well as members of the Nokia Qt Commercial sales and marketing team will transition to Digia, ensuring continuity of contacts for customers," Nyström said. "Those teams will continue to be based in Norway and in the US and we will work with Digia to minimise disruption to customers throughout the transition period."