THE WORLD'S LEADING mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia has announced its intent to acquire the Norwegian software house Trolltech.
Trolltech is the developer of the Qt language that is the foundation of the Linux K Desktop Environment (KDE). It also develops the small footprint, embeddable Qtopia language for Linux based devices like media players and mobile phones.
Finland based Nokia will reportedly splash out 16 Norwegian krona in cash, or about $2.94, for each of Trolltech's approximately 52 million shares. The Nokia offer therefore values Trolltech at about $153 million.
Kai Oistamo, Nokia's executive VP for devices, reportedly said in a statement, "The technology landscape evolves and, for Nokia, software plays a major role in our growth strategy for devices, PCs and the integration with the Internet."
Trolltech CEO and founder Haavard Nord told DeviceGuru, “When we founded Trolltech 14 years ago, [co-founder] Eirik [Chambe-Eng] and I wanted to create a software development framework that would make life easier for software developers. We came up with a vision of ‘Qt Everywhere,’ where our technology would enable efficient development and deployment of applications across a wide range of operating systems and devices. With the announcement today, our ‘Qt Everywhere’ can become a reality.”
Trolltech said its board has approved the offer and approximately 66 per cent of its shares have already been pledged. The company is publicly traded on the Oslo exchange under the ticker symbol "TROLL" and has about 250 employees.
Trolltech said that Nokia intends to continue to dual licence Trolltech's software technology, offering products under both commercial and open source licences.
Founded in 1994, Trolltech had for several years offered its Qt framework only under commercial licencing, which prevented its use by open source developers.
Some Linux distributions avoided using the KDE desktop environment for that reason, which gave the competing Gnome desktop environment time to develop and gain a substantial following.
Open source developer objections to using Qt and integrating KDE within Linux distributions evaporated after Trolltech adopted dual licencing and released Qt under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL).
Ironically, it's the Gnome desktop environment and a few of its lead developers that have recently become more closely linked with major commercial software operations such as Novell and Microsoft, which has created some controversy.
Trolltech had announced earlier this month that its future releases of Qt will be licenced under the latest version of the GPL, the GNU General Public Licence version 3 (GPLv3), the principal additional provision of which prevents licencees from striking discriminatory, anticompetitive deals involving software patents. µ
Watch this space
Hackers could erect man-in-the-middle attacks
Painted into a corner
What we'd call copying, Cupertino calls 'inspiration'