Nokia Acquires Trolltech
Trolltech provides cross-platform software development tools that allow developers to create an application once, with one source code, which can then run on other software platforms [ed. note: and it lives under a bridge]. Basically, Trolltech's technology, called Qt, enables applications to be built for different mobile devices and PCs.
For Nokia, the acquisition strengthens its software strategy as well as adding to the company's new Ovi-branded Internet services strategy. The acquisition is the latest buy in Nokia's recent spending spree to beef up its services strategy. (See Nokia Stakes Claim on Services, Nokia Snaps Up Avvenu, Nokia Nabs Navteq for $8B, and What's in Nokia's (en)Pocket?)
"What this enables developers and partners to do more easily is to extend their reach to mobile and develop their applications on top of our software platforms," said Kai Öistämö, executive vice president of devices at Nokia, in a press conference today.
In other words, the technology will help to get more applications onto more Nokia devices more quickly.
The technology "gives sustainable differentiation to Nokia devices as the mobile and Internet industries are converging," Öistämö added. He explained that the Qt tools will "greatly increase the competitiveness" of Nokia's own device platforms, the Series 40 and Series 60, and enable "needed" cross-platform development, including PCs as well.
Trolltech also offers a Linux-based application platform, called Qtopia. But Öistämö was quick to stress that today's acquisition is not about developing Linux-based mobile devices.
The move to strengthen software and application development will eventually feed into Nokia's Ovi services strategy, which is designed to help mobile operators deliver Internet services on Nokia devices. So far, Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) have all partnered with Nokia to deliver Ovi services. (See Nokia, TIM Do the Net, Vodafone Opens the Ovi, and Telefónica Hugs Ovi.)
Trolltech was founded in 1994. The company has about 250 employees (or trolls, as they prefer to be known) and more than 5,000 customers in 60 countries, including Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which uses Qt in Google Earth. Other customers include Skype Ltd. and Lucas Films. Trolltech reported first-half 2007 revenues of NOK100 million ($18 million).
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung