Nokia has been selling off some of its divisions. Now, the Finnish handset maker is also selling off some patents.
Digia just acquired Qt software technologies and Qt business from Nokia. That means Nokia just took its hands off the associated product development, commercial and open-source licensing and service business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Meanwhile, mobile technologies firm Vringo is snapping up 500 wireless patents from Nokia for $22 million plus a share of the future fees the patents generate. The portfolio spans technologies relating to cellular infrastructure, including communication management, data and signal transmission, mobility management, radio resources management and services.
Nokia acquired Qt in 2008 in a move to give developers the tools they need to write mobile apps for Symbian and MeeGo devices. More than 450,000 developers and thousands of companies in 70-plus industries have used Qt to power apps and user interfaces. But Nokia has since inked a deal to carry Microsoft Windows Phone on its handsets.
Digia will take those technologies and push them out to developers working on iOS, Android and Windows 8 platforms. As part of the transaction, a maximum of 125 Qt employees from Nokia will transfer to Digia and work to release Qt5.
"Now is a good time for everyone to revisit their perception of Qt," said Tommi Laitinen, senior vice president of International Products at Digia. "Digia's targeted R&D investments will bring back focus on Qt's desktop and embedded platform support, while widening the support for mobile operating systems."
Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner, said it's obvious that Nokia needs cash. With that in mind, anything related to Symbian is likely to be on the chopping block as Nokia focuses on Windows phones.
But will Windows phones save Nokia?
"If the Windows Phones don't achieve consumer acceptance Nokia will be following RIM," Disabato told us. "Right now, we're waiting to see what Windows 8 phones will look like. Will the consumers like them? Will there be good quality apps; ported apps that people can get on the iPhone and Android phones? If not, that may knock Nokia out of purchasing consideration."
For example, Windows 8 phones will have productivity apps like Microsoft Office, but if popular gaming apps are not available consumers may not invest in the devices. The other issue is timing. Some industry watches are suggesting that Nokia could announce Windows Phone 8 devices in early September, which means they could launch in time for the holiday shopping season.
"Nokia missed an opportunity to sell to the back to school crowd, and if they don't have these phones in place by the holidays it's going to be bad news for them," Disabato said. "We'll have to wait and see if consumers like the phones."