In the Mobile Platform War, Nokia Snags TrollTech


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.



I think it’s a very strategic move by Nokia. Here is some additional background info on Trolletch:
– Motorola’s most successful Linux smartphone Ming is based on Trolltech’s QTopia
– Sony Mylo also runs QTopia
– Trolltech is a member of LiMo Foundation, which develops mobile Linux and which is led by NTT DoCoMo.

So, first of all, Nokia could use Trolletech’s expertise to further enhance its N8xx Internet Tablet.
Second, they could try to emulate Motorola’s success with Ming in China, by introducing QTopia-based Nokia smartphone Ning for instance.
Third, if they do continue the development of Trolltech’s products and support of new and existing customers, as they stated in the press release, then they could become involved in LiMo’s activities, be-friend with DoCoMo and maybe cook some Linux phone for Japan as well. Also, if Google’s OHA/Android and LiMo decide to collaborate in future, Nokia will be there keeping fingers on the pulse…
Just my 2 cents.


Trolltech is a lost case. It is also financially struggling big time.

I think Nokia just wasted $153m.

Jan Erik Wold

No doubt that controlling the plattform is the key to service integration.
So far mobile phones has been used primarly for short messaging and voice calls, the last year the predictions of data services to cellular phones has been boosted by the wide and heavy implementation of high speed mobile networks such at UMTS/HSDPA. Wimax is comming and wifi is getting better.

Take a look at Windows mobile, the success is only based on rapid software development and excellent development tools.

It will be exciting to see what role each player takes in the forming battle for revenues. Operator and mobile network/terminal manufacturers are getting into each others battle grounds. Acting as both competitors and supplier/vendor is not easy to handle.

Will this give room for Huawei and ZTE as network and terminal suppliers?

The next 3-5 years will change the market, and be an exciting case study.

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