The news that Nokia is going to use Microsoft OS as its primary developement plateform really makes me sad. As many other developers I feel betrayed, after having spent so much time learning to develop apps for Maemo/Symbian based on Qt.
When I now think about the last 2 years it was pretty obvious that we, developers, couldn't really trust Nokia strategy. I started to get involved with Maemo 5 when I decided to port Stellarium to the N900 after Nokia bought Trolltech. Since then Nokia changed many time its strategy toward apps developers:
- 2009: Maemo5 and N900 were presented as developers tools. Developers should naturally continue developing the app afterward on Maemo6 which was then annouced as the future of smart phone at Nokia.
- However already at this time, different hints made us understand that finally Nokia will also keep using Symbian for smart phones as well.
- February 2010: Nokia starts MeeGO with Intel and we learnt that "the MeeGo announcement will not affect the Maemo 6 rollout schedule".
- Later we hear "Maemo 6 will be completely compatible with MeeGo, and according to Ari Jaaksi, we even can consider Maemo 6 already a MeeGo instance"
- Finally Maemo6/Harmattan never came, and we learnt that the first MeeGO release will in fact be renamed MeeGo/Harmattan (although both OSes are quite different).
- September 2010: at this point it seems that Nokia refocused again its whole strategy toward Symbian with devices like the N8 (launch of the Calling all Innovators contest for this device only with AT&T in North America).
- November 2010: a bit unrelated but still insightful about the consistency of the Nokia management: we learn that "Nokia is partnering with Yahoo! to power and improve your Ovi Chat experience in the coming months"
- Feb 2011: Now that it finally becomes reasonably easy to develop for Symbian/Maemo/MeeGO using Qt and QtCreator and that developers like me start to feel hope, Nokia decides to move to Microsoft and it's SDK.
So much strategy changes in the last year! Now let's try to extrapolate a bit this story:
- it is easy to see that the switch to MS SDK and OS will also take at least a year. At the same time Nokia will still support Symbian, Maemo and a new MeeGO device (although I am not sure I should trust Nokia when they claim it's coming).
- I can't prevent thinking that during this Nth transition Nokia is going to continue doing so bad. Share holders will be angry and will ask for more blood, and Nokia will again change its strategy. Maybe move to Android?
At the end, the loosers in this are definitely Nokia R&D and Trolltech employees. As well as all the open source community using Qt.