MeeGo, Qt and Nokia – Feb 11th 2011

Updated on 11 February 2011 by

Today’s announcements by Nokia (there are many to sort through) have shocked a lot of people. The major focus here is that Nokia will now use Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) as their primary platform for smartphones. I want to emphasise that this is a revenue generating strategy. It doesn’t include disruptive computing devices which indicates the removal of risk elements within Nokias strategy.  Symbian gets turned into a ‘franchise’ platform (cheap, stable and, probably, with less focus on corporate support.) Important for the financials is that R&D spend drops. Symbian –related spend drops away completely. MeeGo will get hit very hard here too. Whatever way you look at it, near-term investment in MeeGo from Nokia will drop.

This slide says it all.meegorandd

The message is clear. MeeGo isn’t ready to be used for a smartphone platform in Nokias portfolio. Perhaps if Nokia had continued with Maemo, it would be ready now? Other potential partners in the MeeGo ecosystem will take note of the money spent on R&D by Nokia during this partnership and will look to see what Nokia develop over the next 12 months. Adding to the financial hit, this knocks confidence levels in MeeGo.

MeeGo remains in Nokias strategy but the message we see is that it will be used to experiment with the next generation of disruptive products. Open-source is gone from Nokia’s revenue-generating strategy. We’ve heard nothing about an expansion into tablets, smart-books or other non-phone devices so clearly, this indicates that either Nokia don’t want the financial markets to speculate about this or that they really don’t have a strategy at all here. Nokia have re-affirmed their commitment to delivering a Meego ‘Device’ this year and we suspect that this is an Intel-related commitment for a tablet in the 5-7 inch range to match focus on mobility, clear separation from WP7 devices and to match Intel’s Moorestown platform design limitations. Other MeeGo development work including chipset and industrial design (wait for it, this bit will hurt MeeGo fans) will be ‘repurposed’ in Windows phones.

Where does that leave MeeGo?

The Linux Foundation own the MeeGo brand, take care of the contributions and offer it out as an open-source solution. That hasn’t changed. Linaro, the ARM-focused organisation that can assist ARM product designers to match MeeGo to specific ARM-based platforms is still there. Nokia are still contributing. Intel are still contributing. Intel are still building platforms and services for MeeGo. MeeGo remains one of the best cross-product solutions based on Linux and is the only solution that includes dedicated hardware, development environment and (if AppUp for MeeGo launches at MWC as we expect) applications store. It is still the ‘complete stack’ solution I mentioned last week. What does happen is that Nokia now can’t be relied on as someone that will put a strong brand on a range of MeeGo products. Intel lost a launch partner.

Where does that leave Qt?

Qt will not be used on Windows Phone 7 devices. Without a doubt it waters down the proposition of developing for Qt and as a result, for MeeGo. Todays announcements reduces the potential of Qt to attract developers. On the plus-side, it probably removes OVI as a competing application store leaving Intel to focus on AppUp as the primary application store for MeeGo. A lack of direction for Qt is probably the most significant issue for MeeGo now.

Intel “remain committed “

We asked Intel for a statement and we got this.

While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.

Our strategy has always been to provide choice when it comes to operating systems. MeeGo is one of those choices. We support a port of choice strategy that includes Windows, Android, and MeeGo. This is not changing.

MeeGo stability.

Right now, Intel need to secure some significant product partners for MeeGo, Moorestown and Medfield and to shore-up the development ecosystem by pulling together partners that will also use Qt. Qt is now the burning platform which means AppUp on MeeGo is at risk too.

MWC starts in just a few days and we expect this to be a huge software event for Intel. MeeGo, Appup, IADP, AppLabs and other activities are being showcased. Intel, more than ever, need to use MWC to announce partners.

Stay tuned to Carrypad and we continue to follow this important story over the next week.

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12 Comments For This Post

  1. atoth says:

    As the slide shows Nokia plans to spend more on hardware R&D (mobile platform) and significantly less on software. I think budget cut is a must have and Nokia has no choice but drop its own software.

  2. andre says:

    hey chippy,
    thanks for this fast post and analysis.

    qt as far as i know is not part of the linux foundation and is owned by nokia – the licensing is some open source but rather complicated i have been told.

    i sure hope intel can pull it off and find another strong partner.

    i even have a 1% hope that there will be a shareholder revolt and that @selop will get fired before he can do more damage – but 1% is not a lot ;)

  3. chippy says:

    Yup. That is why QT is at such risk ( along with projects that depend on it) There doesn’t seem to be any strategy for QT now (apart from OVI on symbian)

  4. andre says:

    Just had lunch with someone senior from Intel (although he had no official word from Intel HQ yet)

    We discussed that it might not be so bad for Intel since every other Meego partner was scared off Nokia. If you remember the Symbian licensing Model Nokia was always playing foul with the other licensees. They would ask Symbian (then kind of independent owned to parts by Nokia, Panasonic, Siemens and Sony Ericsson..) to not develop better Camera Support and then NOkia would do just that by themselves leaving the other licensees to die – and most they did. They could do that because they were by far the highest payer of royalties because they sold more handsets then all other Manufacturers combined.

    Now Intel can go out to the mid tier manufacturers and Nokia is no longer on ship – most Maemo code is in the Linux foundation.

    What would be my advice to Intel is to buy QT and all that belongs to it and integrate it in to the Linux Foundation.

  5. Antonio says:

    > but rather complicated i have been told.
    If you use Qt using the GPL or LGPL license… it’s not complicated at all. Also it means that anyone can improve Qt, you don’t depend on Nokia or whoever

    You can see to also check that you can make “commercial” programs using the GPL or LGPL license.

  6. jim says:

    I guess Meego’s dead. Too bad. Wasn’t exactly expecting much from it in the first place though.

  7. nogo says:

    RIP Meego. I didn’t even get a chance to know you.

  8. anon says:

    I had hoped MeeGo to have a more significant role. Alas, if it doesn’t get a second/first/new phone released in its family within a few quarters, it might end up playing a part worse than a tech development playground – a curiosity without 3rd party developer support or enthusiasm.

    I hope Intel pulls it off now more than ever and gets the MeeGo (phone) ecosystem to a state where they can rubs Nokia’s nose into their mistake.

  9. andre says:

    “I hope Intel pulls it off now more than ever and gets the MeeGo (phone) ecosystem to a state where they can rubs Nokia’s nose into their mistake.”

    100% with you… I wonder if they can do it alone – just to get of the start – launch a non branded device like HTC used to do. This could be a chance for Samsung to jump on but it seems they are happy with BADA and Android

  10. anon says:

    To specify; by mistake I of course mean the years leading to the first release of the voice-capable Maemo 5, when Nokia overlooked its potential and the chance to beat Android at its own game before Google got properly started at it. Now it is too late in the game and they are playing catch-up at best – that is, if they even mean to start, really.

  11. rabs says:

    Well, that’s very sad, quite a cold shower after so much hope.

    The supposed 5-7″ device match my desired form-factor, though it’s better to have as much choice as possible.
    Anyway, there should be more devices running MeeGo than Maemo.

  12. Stephen eFlop says:

    Nokia’s strategy is looking at only the smartphone race from app market and cloud service perspective. Developers and the open innovation system is looking at TV, Cars, netbooks and Tablets as well.

    Nokia let down developers that have invested in Symbian, QT and MeeGo.
    The deal will alianate the faithful Nokia developers that will likely migrate to support Android as the market ready open operating system unless cool MeeGo devices come to market from Acer etc.

    It will take at least a year for Windows Phones to rampup and it is very likely that the so called ecosystem will never rival Android or MeeGo.

    Announcing total transfer in smart phones to Microsoft Windows Phone will also hit Nokia sales especially in the developed markets. Why would anyone buy a Symbian phone now???

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