Software // Operating Systems
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10/21/2010
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Nokia Combining Symbian, MeeGo Platforms

While reporting the mobile company's rosy 3Q financials, CEO Stephen Elop said Nokia's two mobile operating systems would be linked via the Qt framework.

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It didn't take long for Stephen Elop, Nokia's new chief executive, to put his stamp on the world's largest mobile phone company: in reporting Nokia's third-quarter financials Thursday, he announced a combining of the company's Symbian and MeeGo platforms, with Qt as the glue linking the two together.

Another surprise was the firm's healthy $737.9 million net profit, which sent Nokia's stock price up 8% in early trading Thursday. Sales rose to $14.4 billion. The company also said it will cut 1800 jobs.

Earlier in the week, there was a hint that something was up with the company's platforms when Symbian Foundation chief Lee Williams suddenly left the position, citing "personal reasons."

By focusing on the Qt cross-application platform, Nokia will not only draw on its industry-leading (in numbers of users) Symbian OS, but it will likely attract developers of other platforms to create applications for Nokia phones. Pointedly perhaps, Qt works well with various Microsoft Windows operating systems. Just five weeks ago, Elop was working in Microsoft's business division. Qt also works well with Linux, embedded Linux, and Mac software.

"The decision to focus on Qt as the sole application development framework will ensure that applications will continue to be compatible with future evolutions of Symbian as well as upcoming MeeGo products," Nokia stated in a release. "Nokia is focusing on Qt as a robust, tried, and tested framework that unlocks the hardware, software, and service capabilities of the existing Nokia smartphone range as well as creating huge opportunities for future Symbian and MeeGo products."

Nokia has been slow to make an impact on the smartphone market, as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones have stolen most of the thunder -- and users and profits -- in the exploding category. Elop has indicated he will press the issue, and the linkage of Symbian and MeeGo is his first step. In addition to having the most global end users, Symbian has a rich legacy of software and developers. MeeGo, a partnership with Intel, is emerging as a more robust operating system for smartphones. In one swoop, Elop solved the dilemma of what Nokia should do with its two platforms.

"Our company faces a remarkably disruptive time in the industry, with recent results demonstrating that we must reassess our role in and our approach to this industry," Elop said in a statement. "In the five weeks since joining Nokia, I have found a company with many great strengths and a history of achievement that are second to none in the industry."

The company raised its guidance for the full year, saying it expects shipments of its devices and services to rise slightly.

Noting also that it plans to make changes in its service organization, Nokia said it will deliver an integrated Ovi software applications store experience across the company's full range of devices, instead of utilizing distinct end-to-end service lines.

In other areas, Nokia said sales of its online Navteq navigation service rose 52% to $353 million and the Nokia Siemens Networks unit recorded sales of about $4 billion.

For Further Reading

Nokia Taps Microsoft's Stephen Elop As CEO

Nokia's Symbian Acquisition Reportedly On Schedule

Intel, Nokia Partner On Mobile OS

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