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Nokia acquires open-source firm Trolltech

Trolltech's open-source programming component and tools should help ease Nokia's cross-platform development difficulties, the Finnish mobile phone maker says.

The Qt components make it easier to build software that runs on many operating systems. Trolltech

Finnish mobile-phone giant Nokia has acquired Norway's Trolltech for about $150 million, the companies said Monday.

The Nordic merger significantly expands the possibilities of Nokia's Linux-based phone efforts. Trolltech makes open-source software and programming tools that can be used to build software on mobile phones, and Nokia has been working for years on mobile Linux devices.

In the open-source programming realm, Trolltech is known well for its Qt library of user interface components such as buttons and drop-down menus. While Qt is governed by the General Public License (GPL), the elements also may be used in proprietary programming projects. Using the components also makes it easier to build software that runs on multiple operating systems.

Indeed, Nokia--which must reckon with many operating systems already--evidently sees that advantage. "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," the company said in a statement. "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 also went out of its way to reassure open-source fans that it won't be dropping Trolltech's open-source ways. "Nokia embraces open-source technology and will take further the open-source development culture found in Trolltech," the company said.