Engadget is reporting that -- as part of Nokia's attempt to jump off of a burning oil platform or something -- Nokia is selling off...
...the Qt framework at the heart of Symbian and MeeGo development -- a platform Nokia acquired from Trolltech back in January of 2008.
From Nokia, Digia acquires Qt commercial licensing, services business, and 3,500 customers. In its press release, Digia promises to...
...continue development of Qt desktop and embedded versions.
...implement new service models.
...open branch offices in USA and Norway, adding to existing offices in Sweden, Russia, and China, with head office in Finland.
...support older platforms not on Nokia's roadmap.
...add 19 people from Nokia to its staff of 1,600.
Nokia won't be needing Qt much, now that it sold its soul to Microsoft, and Microsoft probably preferring Nokia not use a competitor to its own MFC.
Qt [pronounced "cutey"] is a user interface framework, handling things like dialog boxes, windows, palettes, icons, and so on. It also handles data structures and networking. Its primary benefit is that it is OS-independent. This means a programmer can use the same UI for his software running on Linux, OS X, Windows, embedded OSes, like Symbian, and so on. It makes mutli-OS apps easier. (In contrast, the equivalent from Microsoft, MFC Microsoft Foundation Classes, is limited to apps running on Windows.)
CAD companies like Autodesk, Bricsys, and Graebert use Qt for their multi-OS CAD systems. [Update: a reader from Greece reminds me that Bricscad uses wxWidgets.] [Further update: All Points Blog says ESRI and Bentley also use Qt.]
Their hearts may be going pitter-patter this morning as they wake up to the change in ownership. The anxiety level can't be helped by the front page of Digia's Web site, which features stock photography of Happy People (including someone at a coffee klatch) and a featured press release announcing a profit warning, "NET SALES OF DIGIA'S MOBILE SOLUTIONS SEGMENT IN 2011 WILL FALL SHORT OF PREVIOUSLY EXPECTED LEVELS; CHALLENGES ALSO IN PROFITABILITY."
So, Qt will be in the hands of a company with lower-than-expected profits, and who just spent a boatload of money on an acquisition costing hundreds of millions of dollars. (Nokia bought Trolltech for $130 million three years ago. Trolltech invented Qt back in 1991.)
I recall from a couple of years ago a CAD programmer telling me that he felt safe using Qt, since it was now owned by Nokia, the biggest cell phone company in the world, which meant Qt had a secure future. How quickly things change.