The problem with the nebulous nature of computing in the cloud is that the real money is made by controlling a platform. In the vapor of bytes that make up the cloud, the platform is the underlying land. So one can look at Nokia’s $153 million buy of Trolltech as a land grab to control software development on PCs and on cell phones, as well as web applications.
With the purchase, Nokia gets access to Qt, a Linux-based open-source software platform that’s behind software and services such as Google Earth, Skype and Adobe Photoshop Elements. It also gets the Linux-based mobile phone developer platform Qtopia, which competes with Nokia’s use of the Symbian operating system.
Although what it means for Nokia’s support of Symbian is still up in the air, what is clear is that as the web becomes increasingly ubiquitous and less tethered to any one device, the platform is seen as the next point of control. Much like Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone platform, having access to a widely used development platform like Qt, which compares to other ubiquitous platforms such as Flash or Java, gives Nokia a finger in pies far beyond mobile phones.