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Digia swoops as Nokia unloads open source Qt platform

Nokia has unloaded its open-source development platform Qt.

The company announced yesterday it had sold Qt to Finland-based software services firm Digia. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

In a statement, Digia said it plans to "quickly enable" Qt for Android, iOS, and Windows 8 devices. The company said it intends to strengthen Qt's research and development capabilities, and expand its reach on many platforms.

"By adding this world class organisation to our existing team we plan to build the next generation leading cross-platform development environment," Tommi Laitinen, senior vice president of international products at Digia, said in a statement. "Now is a good time for everyone to revisit their perception of Qt. 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."

Pronounced "cute," Qt allows developers to write code for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. A number of popular programs have been written in Qt, such as Google Earth, Skype, and the KDE interface used in Linux. It currently offers mobile development support for Symbian, Nokia's N9, and Windows Phone.

Nokia acquired Qt back in 2008 from its original developers, Trolltech. But since Nokia shifted its smartphone strategy away from Qt in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone, the future of the platform has been in question. Nokia last year denied that Qt was dead, but later said there would be no Qt for Windows Phone 7.

Digia last March acquired the Qt commercial business from Nokia and this transaction completes the transfer. As part of the deal, up to 125 Qt employees mostly based in Norway and Germany will move over from Nokia over to Digia.

Nokia, meanwhile, said the acquisition will allow Qt to continue on successfully.

"Nokia is proud of the contributions we've made to Qt over the past four years," Sebastian Nyström, head of Nokia Strategy, said in a statement. "We are pleased that we've been able to work with Digia to secure continued development of Qt by the current core team."