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Digia has announced that it is set to acquire the Qt commercial licensing and services business from Nokia. Through the proposed acquisition, around 3500 desktop and embedded customer companies from various industries are targeted to be transferred to Digia, with the transaction expected to close by the end of March 2011. Hit the jump to find out more.

This is what Vice President Sebastian Nystrom, Head of MeeGo, Qt & WebKit at Nokia had to say over at the Qt Blog:

Nokia and Digia working together to grow the Qt community

Following last week’s releases of Qt Quick, the new Qt SDK 1.1 beta and Qt 4.7.2, the Qt community will continue to benefit for years to come from further Nokia investment in Qt, primarily focused on areas such as Qt Quick, Qt WebKit and HTLM5 in addition to the ongoing work of improving performance and stability.

The success of Qt has in part been due to a successful dual-license model, providing open LGPL and commercial license alternatives which have enabled a dynamic community of developers in 70 industries to drive a rapid evolution of the Qt cross-platform application and UI framework. The Qt Commercial licensing business is growing and has around 3500 companies, whose development and use of Qt benefits the whole community.

Many organizations which want to use Qt for their business applications choose commercial licenses, for a variety of reasons. These include restrictions in using open source licensed software in industries such as defense & aerospace, or the need to provide product warranties & indemnities such as in the medical device industry. Others choose a commercial relationship for access to Qt professional support and services to ensure successful development of their projects.

However, these professional services are not core business activities for Nokia, so since the introduction of the LGPL license for Qt in 2009 we have been actively working to grow the number of companies providing Qt services. In 2010 we began the search for a company we could work with to serve the commercial licensees in the Qt community. We have now concluded that search and chosen to work with Digia. As a consequence, Digia will acquire the Qt Commercial software licensing and professional services business from Nokia, with the transaction expected to close by the end of March 2011.

Employing hundreds of Qt experts, Digia has 7 years experience in providing top-class Qt competence, and is dedicated to continue and grow Qt Commercial relationships as well as to contribute innovation to the overall Qt LGPL and commercial community.

We expect Digia providing Qt Commercial customers with the support, professional services, and product enhancements that commercial customers require because:

  • The business is aligned with Digia’s strategy and business model.
  • Digia has the incentives, expertise and commitment to serve and grow the commercial license and services business.
  • Nokia and the Digia already have a close relationship and will cooperate in improving Qt as well as in creating developer events, new demos etc.

Although Digia will now be responsible for issuing all Qt Commercial software licenses and for providing dedicated services and support to licensees, Nokia’s Qt technical support team will support and work closely with Digia for the next year. We will now begin work with Digia to ensure a smooth transition of all licenses and commercial relationships.

As part of the agreement, some members of Nokia’s technical consulting services team, as well as members of the Nokia Qt Commercial sales and marketing team will transition to Digia, ensuring continuity of contacts for customers. Those teams will continue to be based in Norway and in the US and we will work with Digia to minimize disruption to customers throughout the transition period.

Digia will invest significant resources in the ongoing development of Qt as a commercial framework. In particular, their plans include emphasizing Qt in the desktop and embedded environments and exploring new support models and feature requests. Commercial customers can also expect improvements in support and functionality for older platforms that were not on the Nokia development roadmap. If you are a holder of a Qt commercial license you can expect to hear more about this soon.

We want to emphasize our long-term commitment to Qt. Nokia will drive Qt developments in support of our business needs and our investments in community building, marketing and R&D will continue to benefit all members of the Qt community. By introducing the up-coming open governance model we will also enable other companies, such as Digia, to more easily contribute to Qt, which will enrich Nokia investments in Qt and benefit and grow the Qt community as a whole.

Overall I expect that Qt Commercial software licensees and the entire Qt community including all of our Qt Partners will benefit from this change. We will continue to actively support the Qt community – including MeeGo – as we are today in activities such as active developer engagement through our online community site, events, community sponsorship and code sprints. We will also continue to provide training materials and eLearning, Qt certification exams and enhance our Qt Partner, Qt in Education and marketing programs and much more.

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