Nokia closes Brisbane Qt office amid sale rumours

Nokia closes Brisbane Qt office amid sale rumours

Summary: Nokia is closing down the Brisbane office responsible for Qt and its development team, possibly in preparation for selling off the user interface framework.

TOPICS: Nokia, IT Employment

Nokia is shutting down the Brisbane team that has been working on its open-source graphical interface framework, Qt, as rumours surface that the handset manufacturer plans to sell the framework.

Qt was originally developed by Trolltech, but it fell into Nokia's hands when the Finnish company bought it in 2008. Nokia senior software engineer Lorn Potter, who has worked for Trolltech/Nokia Brisbane for nine years, told ZDNet Australia that he and 50 other employees have received notices of termination, and are now searching for employment elsewhere, as Nokia plans to close the office.

On the Qt development mailing list, Potter wrote that teams working on QtLocation, Qt3D, QtDeclarative, QtMultimedia, QtSensors and QtSystems modules, as well as the computer integration/quality assurance teams, have all been shut down.

Nokia has been contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of writing.

Former Nokia principal software engineer Atlant Schmidt also posted to the mailing list, stating that a source he considers to be reliable has said that Nokia is seeking to sell Qt off. The source's claims are corroborated by comments that Linux consultant and Phoronix founder Michael Larabel has heard.

Topics: Nokia, IT Employment

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • Nokia's soft from Redmond

    Nokia don't need other software. WP8 is the key.
    • Unfortunately, there's more involved here than just Nokia's future.

      Many folks were already using Qt for many different (mostly "desktop") purposes when Nokia bought Trolltech. And these folks hung in there as loyal Qt customers and supporters even as Nokia obviously shifted the Qt team's focus from desktop to mobile and as Nokia clearly allowed the desktop support to languish. Then Nokia (really, their CEO Stephen Elop) killed Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo and Nokia's need for even the Qt Mobility stuff mostly evaporated. And now, with the termination of Meltemi, their last non-WinPhone non-S30/S40 project, Nokia has no use for Qt at all (and Qt's existence as a cross-platform development framework has never been in Microsoft's best interest).

      A while ago, Nokia outsourced all of the Qt commercial support to their long-time software contracting partner Digia. For many in the Qt community, this was a relief because at least Digia had a business reason to support Qt (the direct revenue stream) whereas Nokia no longer did.

      But now, the Qt user community is left in the lurch: Nokia still owns the trademarks and copyrights and was funding the lion's share of the developers and the Continuous Integration machines and the like. If Qt is to survive at all, all of this has to be sorted out very quickly, otherwise a lot of folks out in the world who depend upon Qt are going to be hurt.

      And right now, I'm one of them!
  • Run! Run away!

    It's too bad about Nokia. Not even Windows Phone could save them. How soon will Microsoft wake up and go looking for new friends?
    Robert Hahn
    • Long overdue. They should have shuttered this place over a year ago

      WP has saved Nokia. With WP8 they will pass apple. They finally have a secure modern os to replace the toy Symbian and the rancid insecure meego. They have the best ux in mobile with the WP metro shell and its fantastic feature integration. They need to completely shed all the outdated useless pieces of the company. Moving their manufacturing to asia was also long overdue and much needed. They can get the same or better build quality done much cheaper there. Elop has done the necessary things that weren't being done and turned this company around. By 2015 they will be back on top.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Noted and logged

        Robert Hahn