Don't you just hate when you discover something,only to find out its future is in question? No this isn't the dinosaurs going extinct!  I've recently been working extensively with Nokia's QT Framework, after evaluating a few options I settled on using QT because

  • It was from a reputable company

  • Its been around for about 15 years

  • It has a decent community

  • Its got an open source version

  • Its flexible and easy to use.

Among other things, for the most part I believed I'd found the ultimate C++ cross platform development tool set. I'm browsing the news online when I see the headline, Nokia and Microsoft announces partnership... I thought to myself, "well that can't be good!". Frankly I don't think any good will come from it, but I believe that opinion is biased....very much so.

So lets have a look at what this could mean (without my biased opinions). Consider the following facts:

  • QT has an eco-system and has built its name on top of its cross platform capabilities, a bit like Java did (I love Java really).

  • Microsoft's windows phone uses the .NET framework.

  • Smartphones are (arguably) the future of the mobile industry

  • Nokia's best known for their mobile phones

  • QT programs are not compatible with the .NET framework used on windows phones

  • Microsoft has a previous employee as the CEO of Nokia (Okay biased but true)

I could go on, but who has that sort of time. Given all of that, the future of QT no longer looks stable. Unless this deal plays out into a great success, Nokia won't be able to strike a deal with Microsoft to have a QT port for the .NET platform. Will it be successful is therefore a nice question? Of course no one can predict the future and Nokia loosing 14% off their stock within moments of the announcement is not a good indicator (is it?). Honestly, I'm not sure if it will be successful. What I can say is that Nokia's taken a huge risk and the company's future is potentially at stake if it all goes wrong. The few billion they are being paid may not be worth it in the long run but who knows.

In the worse case scenario, I can see Nokia loosing an immense amount of market share because of this decision. Enough to not make them one of the top mobile competitors anymore. In which case, QT is dead... On the up side, if this deal works out and Nokia's market share increased, they would have gained the billions they were paid to use windows 7 on top of the profits they make from their new found success. In this case, QT stands a chance. There is still the possibility that Nokia's focus will change to help improving the .NET framework without including QT in the mix which eventually means QT is phased out.

On the other side of the coin, I don't see a Nokia+ Google relationship being beneficial for consumers. Given the success of Android and with other leaders such as Sony Ericsson adopting android, the pricing competition could have gone either way...If Nokia joined the android space it could have driven prices even further down on smartphones...or the opposite.

In short, its a balancing act. You either choose to give developers hell, uncertainty and doubt while consumers are all happy. Or, you reverse the roles. Either way, it is risky...

I like Android though, not terribly happy about the extra work required to attain decent 3D performance but hey...

In summary, I don't think this is a very very bad deal (although I've made it look like one :p), if it goes well Nokia wins all round. I do think its very risky and neglects the importance of developer and user consensus but,that is why CEOs (even if they are from the competition) are in place.

A community software as well established as QT won't die easy, no matter what happens with this deal or Nokia. That's one of the beauties of Opensource software, Nokia must make sure it doesn't leave it hanging like a burden however. Otherwise it risks having it forked by a community who aren't usually too enslaved to the corporate complications involved. Keep on top of the news following this headline, they next few months will be crucial when Nokia and MS announce or rather, propose, their joint road maps.

RIP Symbian

Although not mentioned, this deal does spell death for Symbian. It was definitely an OS ahead of its time and I believe that left Nokia thinking it was forever. As a result they haven't innovated for a while. Nokia's announcements for Symbian always seems to introduce features that are already available on other platforms...This day was fast approaching. For all the loyal Symbian users, we had a good run and now its time to move on to something, (hopefully) better...