Microsoft's contract with Nokia rumored at $1B
 
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It's been less than a month since Microsoft and Nokia announced a strategic partnership to work together in a number of areas, though mainly on mobile phones. One detail that was not disclosed at the time was what kind of dollar investment Microsoft had promised Nokia for developing and marketing Nokia-made handsets that will ship with Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.

That detail has been made a bit clearer with a report by Bloomberg saying that Microsoft plans to pay Nokia more than $1 billion, while Nokia, in turn, pays Microsoft a licensing fee for each copy of Windows Phone 7, as well as the right to use some of Microsoft's expansive patent portfolio.

In addition, Microsoft is said to be paying some of its investment long before the first Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 go into the sales channel.

The deal, Bloomberg's Dina Bass says, will run for more than five years and has not yet been signed.

Qt no more
In addition to the reported financial details of the Nokia and Microsoft deal, Nokia announced earlier today that it would be selling off its Qt application development framework business. Qt had let application developers create apps that run on both Symbian and MeeGo, two mobile operating systems that Nokia is pushing aside to put the focus on Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.

Nokia picked up Qt in its $150 million acquisition of Trolltech in 2008. Buying it from Nokia is Finland-based Digia, which says it's going to set up subsidiaries in the U.S. and Norway to run Qt-related commercial licensing and operations businesses for the nearly 3,500 companies that currently use its Qt commercial licensing. The close of the sale is set for later this month for an undisclosed sum.

The move is not the death of Qt, and Nokia will continue to be involved with serving Qt commercial licensees, wrote Sebastian Nyström, who is the vice president of Qt and Webkit along with being the head of MeeGo for Nokia.

"Although Digia will now be responsible for issuing all Qt Commercial software licenses and for providing dedicated services and support to licensees, Nokia's Qt technical support team will support and work closely with Digia for the next year," Nyström said. "We will now begin work with Digia to ensure a smooth transition of all licenses and commercial relationships."

The new ownership will also bring some extra features to the platform Nyström said.

"Digia will invest significant resources in the ongoing development of Qt as a commercial framework. In particular, their plans include emphasizing Qt in the desktop and embedded environments and exploring new support models and feature requests," Nyström explained. "Commercial customers can also expect improvements in support and functionality for older platforms that were not on the Nokia development road map. If you are a holder of a Qt commercial license you can expect to hear more about this soon."

Digia buys Qt app framework from Nokia

Digia has acquired the Qt framework from Nokia, giving it full control over the application framework, and now plans to expand support to more platforms, it said on Thursday.

The Finnish company plans to port the application framework to Android, iOS, and Windows 8

Digia, based in Finland, started taking over Qt in March 2011 when it purchased Nokia's Qt commercial licensing and services business. The latest deal means Digia is responsible for all Qt activities including product development, as well as the commercial and open source licensing, the company said.

Qt is a cross-platform application and user interface framework designed to let developers write and deploy applications across desktop, mobile and embedded operating systems without rewriting source code.

One of Digia's first priorities will be to allow Qt-based applications to run on Android, iOS and Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 platform. The goal is to provide support for Android and iOS during the first half of 2013, a spokesman said via email.

Today Qt can be used to create applications for Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and Symbian.

Digia will decide whether to also port the framework to Windows Phone 8 in the coming months, according to the spokesman.

As devices based on Android and iOS have become so popular, there is now a growing need to develop applications for multiple platforms at the same time. That has in turn made cross-platform tools more attractive, as they promise to cut development costs.

By expanding Qt to more operating systems Digia hopes to turn the framework into a credible option in the increasingly crowded cross-platform mobile development space, where it will have to compete with the likes of Appcelerant, Adobe's PhoneGap, Sencha, Unity and Xamarin.

What will set Digia apart from the competition is the ability to develop native applications not only for mobile devices, but also for desktops and embedded systems, it maintains.

Digia will also be pushing to deliver Qt 5 on time. The final release of the new version of the framework is expected to arrive in September, according to the Qt project website.

No financial details of the deal were announced, but as part of the transaction, a maximum of 125 people will transfer from Nokia to Digia. Most of them are based in Oslo and Berlin Digia said.

Since Digia acquired Nokia's Qt Commercial licensing, the business has grown substantially and Digia expects it be profitable in 2012.

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