What’s really wrong with Nokia?
I may be wrong in my personal views, but here is how I feel after reading this today, even if I am ranting and venting a bit about Nokia and Qt.
Nokia went to hell in a handbasket when it joined forces with Microsoft and allowed a Ex Microsoft guy to become the CEO killing Qt on mobile, the real future. The smart play would have been to create a Qt “Bridge” to a Windows phone while still moving to .Net. But Elop and his famous burning raft rally speech told the entire company to jump into the icy water to commit suicide. No one but Elop saw the raft on fire and told them to abandon it for .Net and a failed MS mobile Initiative, just look at the success Win8 and WP7/metro turned into, I think WinCE was a bigger hit back in the day. This is so tragic it’s upsetting.
Imho Nokia commited the #1 unforgivable crime of killing its C++ Qt mobile community for .Net. I live in Toronto and honestly I don’t hear much about Qt fan-fare here or in North America in general. It seems to me that Nokia was once a big deal in Europe or maybe just Finland? but they failed to really promote their product and Qt in North America. Nokia phone are not sexy in the slightest way down here. You have to be an odd-ball to have a Nokia phone, even the new Lumia! This is the stigima Nokia doesn’t realize it has. Down here what Nokia was best known for was its cheap bottom-of-the-line phones, but the world had moved on. I still have my Nokia 3100 phone, a lot of people had these phone back in the day. But Nokia failed to take such buyers and migrate them over to the sexy full-featured phones, a missed opprotunity, they just kept pumping the market with cheap phones down here.
Possibly Microsoft will have to pump money into Nokia or buy it outright, just like Google did with Motorola, but I don’t think Microsoft cares about Nokia. The last time I was at a WP7 event here in Toronto, they (MS) didn’t even mention Nokia. I think Nokia is doomed and it’s too late to switch to plan B. Samung has risen to prominance and it’s going to dominate the Android market and give IPhone a run for it’s money. How long can Nokia keep buring cash until and if Window phone ever gains traction. Even then who is to say people will like Nokia phones over company x, company y and company z? The next movement is going to be in tablets, and once again Nokia is lost to the world, late to the party and doesn’t have a clue what is going on and where the market is moving.
Put a fork in Nokia, because it’s done like dinner imho!
Nokia keeps getting smaller but not nimbler: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/timeline-nokias-rocky-road-under-084150203.html
To quote from the above article: <<“We’re fans of Qt, and we’ll continue to support it in the near term, but are being open about looking for opportunities which may be best for this developer framework,” Kerris said.>>
So Nokia is looking to sell Qt, I think this is great news, because it’s clear that there is no future for Qt while Nokia owns it, at least not in mobile.
There aren’t many options that are worse for Qt than Nokia, Microsoft comes to mind, as I noted in another thread, buying Qt out is an easy way to eliminate a pesky cross platform competitor to their own platform restrained framework.
Another problem is that Nokia cannot even hope to sell Qt at the price they purchased it back in the day. Selling at a loss is pretty much the only option, and even by some miracle they manage to cash it for 2/3 of the price, that amount of money is far too insignificant to make up for all the billions lost the last couple of years.
There is always the optimistic, somewhat naive hope some decent company will purchase Qt and hopefully get it out of this platform and API mess it is today in. But with Nokia in bed with MS you never know…
Best case scenario would be for Samsung to buy Qt, they have a hefty market share, are big enough and are also hardware manufacturers, buying Qt will give them the opportunity to have a complete platform and no longer rely on Google’s fragmented Android. I find it annoying that Google is investing only enough in Android to be able to cash on it, they’ve been promising low latency audio and touch input for years now, improvements in which as a developer I am very interested, abut failed to deliver. Even Apple, which I dislike with a passion is better in this regard.
Keeping fingers crossed for Samsung to step in and save Qt.
I don’t think Microsoft ever worried about Qt being a worthy platform competitor. Qt just happened to be incontinently under Nokia control when Windows Phone deal happened. But that’s all history now.
There’s no room in mobile platform market any more. Keep cramming Qt in between the teeth of Google, Apple, and MS will just kill it eventually. The experiment is over. Time to get back to what Qt has been great: desktop and embedded.
@Stephen – you assume the deal happened spontaneously, but it might very well been cooking for some time. Such dramatic strategic shifts take preparation. Microsoft has been worrying about competitors significantly lesser than Qt, as a good crossplatform library Qt is a viable longterm thread for MS. People use Windows because their programs can only run in Windows, Qt makes it easy to write programs that run on other operating systems, including Linux, which is free. And I myself wouldn’t ever bother with Windows if all my programs were available for Linux. Besides being cross platform, as a native C++ framework, Qt has a performance and memory advantage to .NET too.
There is plenty of room in the mobile market, in fact if Qt steps in, it will be WITHOUT competition, as there currently AREN’T ANY native cross platform frameworks. With the Android SDK your application only runs only on Android, with the iOS SDK your applications runs only on iOS, same for Microsoft’s development toolchain, even with SDKs like MoSync or Marmalade which support most mobile platforms, you don’t get desktops.
There is definitely a place for a ALL IN ONE solution, being capable of running on all major mobile and desktop platforms, and many developers would be interested into making their applications available everywhere in an effortless way. We have many brands of cars too, it doesn’t mean there is no room for a new, versatile vehicle that runs more efficiently, on all types of fuel and across all terrain, figuratively speaking.
Qt gaining mobile market share is only illusional for as long as it is in the hands of Nokia, who will not dedicate to supporting major mobile platforms, and has no popular platform but uses that of MS which Qt doesn’t support. But in the hands of another company, Qt has the potential of rising in popularity very quickly. Android alone is about 50% of the mobile device market, and having dealt with the Android SDK I’d chose Qt over it any day, and I see no reason why this won’t apply to most developers. Android is on its way to desktops too and will pretty soon start stealing market share from Microsoft. Just look at how much market share Chrome managed to steal in just a few years.