Nokia to acquire Trolltech to accelerate software strategy

Continuing what is becoming a popular trend, another Open Source company has been acquired. This time it’s Nokia acquiring Trolltech, who are best known for QT and Qtopia. From the press release:

Espoo, Finland and Oslo, Norway – Nokia and Trolltech ASA today announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia will make a public voluntary tender offer to acquire Trolltech (www.trolltech.com), a company headquartered in Oslo, Norway and publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Trolltech is a recognized software provider with world-class software development platforms and frameworks. In addition to the key software assets, its talented team will play an important role in accelerating the implementation of Nokia’s software strategy.

Nokia will offer NOK 16 per share in cash. The board of directors of Trolltech has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept Nokia’s Offer. Holders of 35,024,830 shares, representing approximately 66,43 % of Trolltech’s issued shares and votes have as of January 27, 2008 irrevocably undertaken to accept the Offer. Haavard Nord, Vuonislahti Invest AS (controlled by Eirik Chambe-Eng), Teknoinvest and certain funds managed by Index Ventures are among the shareholders who have agreed to tender their shares to Nokia.

The acquisition of Trolltech will enable Nokia to accelerate its cross-platform software strategy for mobile devices and desktop applications, and develop its Internet services business. With Trolltech, Nokia and third party developers will be able to develop applications that work in the Internet, across Nokia’s device portfolio and on PCs. Nokia’s software strategy for devices is based on cross-platform development environments, layers of software that run across operating systems, enabling the development of applications across the Nokia device range. Examples of current cross-platform layers are Web runtime, Flash, Java and Open C.

It’s good to see that Nokia has explicitly confirmed its commitment to keeping Trolltech products Open Source and available under the GPL. I think the move makes quite a bit of sense, although I remain unsure what the real future of Symbian is. Nokia is creating some really interesting devices (although I am still waiting for my N810). It should be noted that while QT forms the base of KDE, devices such as the N810 currently run Gnome. Congratulations on another successful Open Source exits. With the current trend, it’s unclear how much longer we’re going to have “Open Source companies”. It seems that more and more, Open Source is simply being seen as a logical way to develop software, even in historically proprietary companies.

–jeremy

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