First, we had developer Champions who had focused on Qt getting kicked off the program (then reinstated into a new program). And now, during the last few days, a discussion thread has been banded around and now confirmed by an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, stating that Nokia is closing the Brisbane office of Qt Development Frameworks. 60 employees will lose their jobs. However there was a suggestion Nokia would try to sell Qt rather than just close it, and the time frame being end of august or end of the year also varies. Either way, whether the employees, many of whom joined Nokia with the Acquisition of Trolltech, work on Qt in the future, it won’t be as Nokia employees.
Simple fact is that the reasons they needed it – The grand plan of Symbian and Series 40 giving way to Qt based Meego and Meltemi, is on it’s way out and has been since roughly Feb 11 2011. We all know Meego was dropped in favor of Windows Phone, though I’m not sure why Meltemi was dropped. Maybe it was the huge improvement in Series 40, or the success of the Asha line of devices, or maybe Meltemi wasn’t as compelling, or development was too slow. However, it’s entirely possible that if things had gone better with their Smartphones, (both Symbian and Windows Phone) and Nokia not felt they had to lay off staff, that Qt would be sticking around at Nokia in some form or other.
As it is, Nokia have been moving to sell of bits of their business that are not their core function any more, such as Vertu. Along with that have been re-organizations’ in pretty much every part of their business, such that their factory in Salo, Finland is now closing too. So with Nokia choosing Windows Phone, and the Asha devices succeeding on an upgraded S40 platform running Java and web apps, Qt is also now surplus to requirements.
Qt will live on however, just as it did before Nokia bought it in 2008, and honestly, I think in my short experience of Qt, Nokia have brought things along nicely, especially with the introduction of QtQuick. I would love to be wrong on this, and I regret that, despite the purpose of this very blog, I haven’t been more involved in writing Qt and Qt apps. When I started this blog, the developer.nokia.com website was running a competition around QtQuick – people had to submit apps or how-to’s using Qt Quick and could Win an E7 for doing so. The blogs I wrote then are my most read pages today.
Anyway, regardless of Nokia ownership, Qt is still a huge platform, well used for many apps in many platforms, and the “Code Once, Deploy Anywhere” line still stands. YOu can write Qt apps for Symbian and Maemo, the N9, Meego, Windows and Linux, and reportedly RIM is using Qt to build it’s new Blackberry OS. However, with Nokia’s focus on Windows phone, along with Series 40, and assumedly the demise of any Qt based “new disruption” research, like Elop mentioned here, the number of new, unreleased, Nokia phones to support the platform has to be zero or pretty close to it. Not something that was expected when Nokia bought Trolltech, just a few years ago in 2008.