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Microsoft's contract with Nokia rumored at $1B

The partnership between Nokia and Microsoft announced last month now has a reported dollar figure. Also, Nokia announces that it's selling off the commercial licensing part of its Qt business.

It's been less than a month since Microsoft and Nokia announced a strategic partnership to work together in a number of areas, though mainly on mobile phones. One detail that was not disclosed at the time was what kind of dollar investment Microsoft had promised Nokia for developing and marketing Nokia-made handsets that will ship with Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, left, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer explain their companies' new tight alliance for mobile phones at an analyst and strategy meeting in London in early February. Stephen Shankland/CNET

That detail has been made a bit clearer with a report by Bloomberg earlier today saying that Microsoft plans to pay Nokia more than $1 billion, while Nokia, in turn, pays Microsoft a licensing fee for each copy of Windows Phone 7, as well as the right to use some of Microsoft's expansive patent portfolio.

In addition, Microsoft is said to be paying some of its investment long before the first Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 go into the sales channel.

The deal, Bloomberg's Dina Bass says, will run for more than five years and has not yet been signed.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the matter, as did a Nokia representative, citing that the deal had not yet been signed.

Qt changes hands
In addition to the reported financial details of the Nokia and Microsoft deal, Nokia announced earlier today that it would be selling off a portion of its Qt application development framework business to Finland-based Digia. Qt lets application developers create apps that run on both Symbian and MeeGo, two mobile operating systems that Nokia has shifted away from to focus on Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. As part of the deal, Nokia will continue to make Qt available under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

Qt logo

Nokia picked up Qt in its $150 million acquisition of Trolltech in 2008. Digia says it's going to set up subsidiaries in the U.S. and Norway to run Qt-related commercial licensing and operations businesses for the nearly 3,500 companies that currently use its Qt commercial licensing. The close of the sale is set for later this month for an undisclosed sum.

The move is not the death of Qt, and Nokia will continue to be involved with serving Qt commercial licensees, wrote Sebastian Nyström, who is the vice president of Qt and Webkit along with being the head of MeeGo for Nokia.

"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," Nyström said. "We will now begin work with Digia to ensure a smooth transition of all licenses and commercial relationships."

The new ownership will also bring some extra features to the platform Nyström said.

"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," Nyström explained. "Commercial customers can also expect improvements in support and functionality for older platforms that were not on the Nokia development road map. If you are a holder of a Qt commercial license you can expect to hear more about this soon."

Updated at 8:44 a.m. on 3/8 with Nokia comment and additional details of the Qt deal.