12 Feb 2011

Nokia's Doomsday – the Elopocalypse?

Submitted by blizzz
So yesterday Nokia announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft. It brought quite a disturbance on the industry and users, especially the free software community. As owner and main driver of the Qt Framework and driver of the free and Linux based smart phone operating systems Maemo and MeeGo, of course Symbian too, this will have quite an impact on the development and future of those products. With Microsoft breathing down Nokia's neck it is clear, that it will not be bright in this context. And moreover there is also a social impact. Let's take a look on the different aspects one by one:


Qt as a cross platform framework has most value for Nokia. Though I am not sure if it is compatible with Windows Mobile 7, it would make sense to develop the compatibility. If only to write applications only once, for Symbian, MeeGo and that Win stuff. Symbian will still be used in the low price segment and MeeGo phones, computers i mean, are not abandoned, yet. Well, you can have your doubts on this [1]:
Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach. - Elop and Ballmer
German magazine iX comes to the same conclusion.


The decision to use Windows Mobile [1] on their smart phones is exceedingly fatal for MeeGo on Nokia devices. As Nokia is one of the main drivers of this project, and as provider of the software's origin Maemo, you bet that engagement will decrease hard. Officially MeeGo is seen as a long-term possibility and research platform, however they have Microsoft in their neck – no expectations here. Quite the contrary, Alberto Torres, head of MeeGo at Nokia, has been dismissed from business management instantly, as Spiegel reports [2]. Nevertheless MeeGo is not only Nokia's child. It is also powered and driven by Intel. Also Intel announced to continuously work on MeeGo. The main problem is that Nokia was the one vendor who was expected to equip its smart phones with it. Only too well, if another company would fill this gap – or will it run on more or less living OpenMoko?


I am not too much into Symbian, but it was expected to die anyway. It will be used on low budget devices for the next months or years. Again, no jumps to expect here. I guess, Symbian will be exploited and fade away eventually.

Social Impact

Mr. Elop is expected to reduce jobs and probably a huge cut will be accomplished in Tampere, mostly on jobs related to Symbian. On of the first reaction was that thousands of Nokia workers marched out of their factories to protest, most of them working on Symbian. Good luck and all the best. Personally, this reminds me of the shutdown of the factory in Bochum, Germany, the area where i grew up and my heart still hangs on. And still I kept using Nokia devices and bought the N900... Nokia will not fool me twice.

My Conclusion

Qt will not die. With or without Nokia, it is free software and widely used and needed. Nothing to panic about. MeeGo will not die. With or without Nokia, it is free software and there are other companies and people involved. Nothing to panic about. (Nokia will not die in the near future. No need to panic either way.) Currently, I don't think I am going to buy another Nokia device. Nokia, solely your mobile devices have accompanied me, but each era has to end ;) No, I do not have any interest in Microsoft Nokia and I am not eager to support it in any way. My N900 is only one year old, so I have plenty of time to watch the market. Perhaps another vendor releases MeeGo smart phones by then? Maybe WebOS is/will be an interesting alternative? Certainly not Android, however.

What others say

The investors do not have trust into this deal, too. Nokia went down 14.4% at Frankfurt stock exchange until 8pm this Friday: Nokia tumbles at Frankfurt stock exchange Current figures German magazine Spiegel reports on this issue, too [2]. Frank Karlitschek, Vice President of KDE e.V., dents more or less hopefully:
Every disruptive events brings new opportunities. Even the latest Nokia announcement. I just can´t see them yet.
Tomi Ahonen: Only Microsoft wins. I agree. Ari Jaaksi, head of WebOS development at HP sees a chance to draw Maemo and MeeGo enthusiasts to WebOS, another Linux based operating system with similar targets as MeeGo. With a reference to the recent Palm Pre 3 release, he has a short blog post presenting WebOS.

Remarkable Negligibilities

Microsoft's Trojan Horse, Stephen Elop, made it to his very own hash tag: #Elopocalypse Nokia's devices will search with Bing. Basically OK to break up the search engine market. But not with the engine copying Google's search results as Google states it. Noteworthy is also this part of the open letter [1]:
There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.
I bet you will not.

Other resources

  1. Open letter from Nokia and Microsoft
  2. Spiegel on Nokia's development at the stock exchange (German)
  3. Techrights: More like a takeover


WP7 does not permit development in any framework other than the two approved ones: XNA (a .NET games-centric framework) and a subset of Silverlight 3 (the web plugin, minus some features). You can't develop in non-.NET languages such as C++, and you can't get libraries onto the thing such as Qt.

Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

MeeGo is dead. It was already late and this just seals the deal. A stillborn baby that will never see the light of day.

I don't agree. MeeGo has still has strong supporters (Intel, AMD, car industry) and an active community. There are lots of applications for it, and with Myriad Alien Dalvik VM all Android apps will run on it, too. No question, iOS and Android have a lead over it, but the perspective is far better than with WP7. Latter probably would not have survived on it's own.

Wow, this piece of writing is good, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, so I am going to convey her.

Thank you! To be honest, I do not care too much about the IE, but want to refresh the blog design for a while already. Maybe then things will get better with IE ;)

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