Nokia + Microsoft WTF

We just learned about the Nokia and Microsoft strategic partnership today and many people are concerned. I think the agreement is worrying for Qt, but even more worrying for Nokia. I foresee an exodus of current developers and Nokia mobile device users. Many Windows developers will come. Hopefully?

I really wonder who is actually benefited by this strategic partnership.

Nokia already had many mobile devices with Symbian, one with Maemo (and there could have been many more with Maemo, but for some unknown reason there weren’t) and Meego could have been adopted already (but again, for some reason, Nokia had not).

On the other hand, Microsoft had an operating system but no users. Virtually nobody wanted Windows 7. It was either Android or your own solution (MeeGo, WebOS, Bada, etc).

In my opinion, the next move we will see is Microsoft buying Nokia to be able to compete one-to-one with Apple and Google. I think it will not take too longer, probably they are just waiting for Nokia stock to fall a bit more.

So what should have been the change of direction Nokia should have done a few years ago?

In my opinion, when Nokia acquired TrollTech, they should have released at least 10 devices with Qtopia. Immediately. And dump Maemo.

In parallel, they could have added more and more Maemo features to Qtopia. By doing that, they would have had a good mobile operating system and applications in no time. There was even an X11 compatibility layer for Qtopia back then.

I did not understand why Nokia adopted Qt and went on with Maemo and Meego based on Gtk+, and tried to keep as much backwards compatibility (regarding to source compatibility, development methodology,e tc) with devices which barely had users (N770, N800 and N810). I think noone understood that move. From my point of view, that was a waste of time, money and effort, which ultimately led to Nokia’s demise.

PS: Yes, I still am a KDE on Windows developer and part of the Debian Qt-KDE team

16 thoughts on “Nokia + Microsoft WTF

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  2. Antonio

    > I really wonder who is actually benefited by this strategic partnership.

    Like they commented in osnews.com:

    “Without their own OS, nokia will be reduced to just producing hardware and having to compete with the asians who can produce the same hardware more cheaply.”

    Reply
  3. Sławek

    I think, that Microsoft would asks Nokia to destroy QT on Windows platform. Many applications previously only for Windows developed by companies of my country are rewritten to QT because eliminate costs. At now some of them are ported to Linux. Little example is Tlen or GaduGadu.
    Also many Linux application are released on Windows thanks QT. Kadu developers always said: “We don’t have time to port and support our application on Windows – it will be too big costs”. That’s truth before releasing QT4. At now the cost to port applications are near 0.
    The main reason to Microsoft and Nokia will work together is to broken Windows version of QT.
    Nokia is only phone vendor – QT is not very important for it.

    Nokia are using GTK+, because they are better for mobile phones. Maybe the situation was changed now, but in not far history is truth. Also, many phone vendors are using gnome-panels in cell UI.

    Reply
  4. Janne

    Nokia was between a rock and a hard place. Symbian was crap and a dead-end, Meego was not finished. Yeah, they had N900, but while it was somewhat popular among gearheads, normal users were not interested in it, and it flopped in the market. Nokia needed an OS that could appeal to mainstream-users, and Meego and N900 was not it.

    It’s embarrassing that Nokia still has nothing that comes close to the original iPhone. A phone that was introduced 4 years ago!

    So what about Android? Well, there’s already zillion manufacturers churning out android-phones, it would be very hard for Nokia to differentiate.

    So what about Windows Phone 7? Well, it’s actually pretty good OS. Yeah, it doesn’t have that many apps, but neither does Meego. Android does, but like I said, Android is oversaturated with limited chance to differentiate.

    What options they had? Keep on developing Meego, while selling Symbian? I bet their market-share would have halved in a year or so, and Meego was far from a safe bet.

    Personally, I think they should have bought Palm, drop everything else and move their phones to WebOS and be done with it. They would have then had a OS that they control, and it would have been a modern OS that works and is available right now. Meego might have been modern, but it was not available. Symbian was available, but it was not modern.

    Reply
  5. kap4lin

    time for a fork: Qt (aka Microsoft Qt, which will be eventually put to death) and libreQt (lets hope this survives, I don’t want to go back to Gnome, or who knows, KDE5.x may be based on Gtk3 completely)…

    Reply
  6. g

    I agree that Nokia should immediately have released devices with Qtopia and ditched the other platforms. They should have focused on one platform only instead of wasting their time porting Qt to Symbian and maintaining everything they had.

    If Microsoft buys Nokia, it is not certain that they will kill Qt. If they are smart enough they will realize that it is a superior toolkit which enables many people (even Linux users) to easily write apps for Windows. You are a Linux or Mac user writing software in Qt for your own use under Linux or Mac? Thank you, your app also works under Windows (and if not, less effort is necessary to make it work than when porting to a different toolkit), so no need for Windows users to switch to Linux or Mac in order to use your great software. This would be quite ironical: all the free software adepts who hate MS and who wrote superior apps and a superior DE using Qt will end up benefiting Micro$oft. Praise $DEITY that Gnome and Gtk exist.

    Reply
  7. Tim

    A joint venture between two companies: one is a company with some good technologies, but confused about its market and how to engage with consumers, and very slow to execute, and the other is a company with some good technologies, but confused about its market and how to engage with consumers, and very slow to execute. Sounds like a winner, doesn’t it?

    As for QT, this is a test of open source.

    Reply
  8. taurnil

    Well in the long run it will not be Nokia that benefits from this “partnership” with Microsoft; few ever do. Novell was under the same mistaken thought processes and now they be no more. So I will offer an early goodbye to Nokia and all the wonderful support they have down with FOSS; Goodbye.

    Reply
  9. Jeff Waugh

    Nokia were in a difficult position long before they bought Trolltech or made any of the subsequent decisions related to Maemo, MeeGo and Qt… and those decisions were not particularly costly in the grand scheme of things.

    That’s not what took them down, though it certainly contributed another angle to the very real and damaging internal warfare within the company.

    Even if they’d managed to tear through all the internal politics and done everything you suggest, they’d still be in the same position now.

    Reply
  10. seleko

    its too late to worry for Nokia.
    Its dead.
    Every company that ever had even coopt’ed with M$ now is nowhere :(

    The best thing for all if they kill each other :)
    Only pray for Qt stay alive!

    Reply
  11. Kavalor

    I think you forget that the new Nokia CEO worked for Microsoft before hired by Nokia – and one of the first things he does is negotiate a cooperation with Microsoft . I’m sad

    Reply
  12. Irrlicht

    This is only the latest chapter of the failure of the Linux ecosystem, this time in the mobile sector. Yes, Nokia should have choosen a more focussed approach. They should have adopted Qtopia to develop something similar to IOS, with the Qt Api instead of Cocoa. Now it’s too late.

    Reply
  13. Martin

    Too bad that Nokia put Maemo aside. It was in a relatively good state on my N770 and my N800 at least and had a vibrant community supporting it. The decision – taken without any community involvement – to go for mediocre RPM and Qt instead of established DEB and GTK+ with Meego was the death sentence. Now Microsoft may eat the carrion.

    Reply
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