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Nokia to buy into open source platform

By   |  January 29, 2008

Mobile deal: Trolltech has announced that it is to be bought by Nokia in a deal estimated to be worth €104 million(R1.1bn). Trolltech are the developers of QT and QTopia, both open source cross platform application frameworks.

The move is a strategically clever one from Nokia as it battles new rivals Google and Apple in the mobile space, but a headsplitting-headache for the ever-declining Motorola.

Trolltech yesterday also issued an open letter to the free software community in which the company committed itself to continuing its work with the open source community:

We will continue to actively develop Qt and Qtopia. We also want to underline that we will continue to support the open source community by continuing to release these technologies under the GPL.

Undoubtedly it is QTopia that most interests Nokia as QTopia provides an application platform for Linux-based mobile, CE and embedded devices.

With Nokia buying into this open source platform the future of free software on mobile devices looks distinctly rosier and it cements the mobile device maker’s position at the top of the mobile food chain.

Buying Trolltech also positions Nokia very well to defend its territory against two new threats in the market: Apple with its iPhone and Google’s Android platform. Nokia currently dominates the mobile sector with its 40% market share but these two players have the potential to make inroads into the traditional mobile phone market.

One company that will feel the pain of this deal, however, is Motorola which has been steadily declining and is likely now to lose even more market share. Motorola currently uses Trolltech’s QTopia software for its Linux-based mobile phones and this deal will mean Nokia will gain even greater control over the software it needs.

Trolltech announced last week that it was releasing its Qt framework under the GPL 3, the newest version of the most popular free software licence.


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