Nokia's been beating the Qt warpath for years after purchasing the developer framework from Trolltech back in January of 2008. In fact, Nokia just made the switch to Qt exclusively back in October in a sign of its unrelenting support for the unified development environment. That, like all previous Nokia strategies, is in for a big change today. While Qt will continue on as the development framework for Symbian and MeeGo, Microsoft will provide its free Windows Phone Developer Tools (Visual Studio 2010, Expression, Silverlight and the XNA Framework) to developers interested in developing for Nokia Windows Phones (get used to that phrase) while providing "guidance" to anyone wishing to port their apps to WP7. In other words, Qt will not be adapted for Windows Phone 7 APIs. Full letter after the break to what we imagine is a very disgruntled and previously loyal Nokia developer community.
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Letter to Developers about Today's News
jasonblack | 11 February, 2011 10:05

Nokia and Microsoft today announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would combine our complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem, one we believe would have all the elements needed to fuel innovation – including search, location, advertising and exciting new devices.

As part of this, Nokia plans to adopt Windows Phone as our primary smartphone strategy, helping drive the future of the platform. This has not been a decision taken lightly by Nokia and we wanted to share some of the key points with our developer community.

Nokia and Microsoft together

The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem would aim to deliver differentiated and innovative products and have unrivalled scale, product breadth, geographical reach, and brand identity. With Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform, we would help drive the future of the platform by leveraging our expertise in hardware optimization, software customization, language support and scale.

Microsoft would make available the existing free Windows Phone Developer Tools; Visual Studio 2010, Expression, Silverlight and the XNA Framework to developers. Together, we will provide guidance for developers wishing to port their applications to Windows Phone.

Nokia and Microsoft would also combine services assets to drive innovation. Nokia's Ovi Maps, for example, would be at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter, and Nokia's application and content store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for Nokia Windows Phones, to deliver a great single commerce experience for developers and consumers alike.

The Qt ecosystem

Qt will continue to be the development framework for Symbian and Nokia will use Symbian for further devices; continuing to develop strategic applications in Qt for Symbian platform and encouraging application developers to do the same. With 200 million users worldwide and Nokia planning to sell around 150 million more Symbian devices, Symbian still offers unparalleled geographical scale for developers.

Extending the scope of Qt further will be our first MeeGo-related open source device, which we plan to ship later this year. Though our plans for MeeGo have been adapted in light of our planned partnership with Microsoft, that device will be compatible with applications developed within the Qt framework and so give Qt developers a further device to target.

Nokia Mobile Phones

Nokia Mobile Phones will drive Nokia's "web for the next billion" strategy, leveraging Nokia's innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people and bring them affordable access to the Internet and applications. This represents a further opportunity for developers. Nokia will leverage our proxy browser technology on mobile phones, as well as continuing to enhance Java support and SDKs, with developers and publishers able to deliver their applications to consumers through the Nokia store.

Supporting our developers

As part of the change in Nokia's organization announced today, the Services and Developer Experiences (SDX) unit will be responsible for Nokia's global service portfolio, developer offering, developer community relations, and integration of partner service offering. Forum Nokia will be part of that unit and will continue to support developers for Symbian smartphones and Series 40 mobile phones.

We will strengthen our ability to support developers both globally and in local markets, ensuring that we can work with you wherever you are to bring your latest applications to our store and help you leverage the global revenue opportunity with Symbian and Series 40.

For Nokia Windows Phones, Microsoft would provide tools for application developers to easily and rapidly leverage Nokia's market reach. The integration of Microsoft Marketplace and Nokia's content and application store would provide scalable infrastructure and compelling consumer engagement for applications for Nokia Windows Phones.

The combined stores would offer unparalleled distribution. The Ovi Store already delivers content in 190 countries, with local specific content in 90 of those. We are now seeing 4 million downloads a day, with 300,000 users signing up daily and 400,000 developers now working on applications for Nokia on Symbian. In addition to offering operator billing with 103 operators in 32 countries, we plan to support the widest range of business models for our publishers and developers.

We plan to make it easy and profitable for all developers to thrive in the ecosystem, taking advantage of the enablers (API's) offered by ourselves, Microsoft and other partners - including location, search, monetization and advertising.

What's next?

As we said, this announcement is about our plans to work with Microsoft and the planning will continue. Our aim is to keep you informed as plans develop, through our Forum Nokia and Ovi Publish websites, newsletters and in person. In the meantime, we want to help you maximize the existing business opportunity, developing for the approximately 50 million Qt capable Symbian smartphones already in use and approximately 150 million more that we target to sell, as well as hundreds of millions of Nokia mobile phones.

We think this is going to be an exciting journey and look forward to having you with us!

Purnima Kochikar

Head of Forum Nokia & Developer Community