Xbox Live, Office, enhanced maps coming to Nokia’s Windows Phones; Qt not

At at joint press conference today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop provided specific details about what the newly forged partnership between their two companies will look like. Fans of Nokia hardware and the Windows Phone software can get excited about the prospects of Xbox Live, Office, and enhanced maps (a combination of Ovi Maps and Bing) coming to Nokia WP sets. Fans of Windows Phone in general can get excited about the world’s largest phone manufacturer throwing its weight behind the recently launched mobile OS. But how do Nokia’s developers, the ones who have committed time and resources to Qt, make out in this deal? The future looks bleak.

In a letter to developers, the companies noted that Qt would still be supported for Symbian and MeeGo — Nokia expects to ship 150 million Symbian phones during the transition; there was also mention of the first MeeGo device shipping later this year. The letter was quite clear in saying that Microsoft would “provide tools for application developers,” not Nokia. Translation: No Qt. This transition from Symbian to Windows Phone is going to be an interesting tightrope for Nokia to walk — especially in regards to developers. The aforementioned letter is waiting for you after the break. Have a look and let us know what you think in the comments.

Letter to Developers about Today’s News
11 February, 2011 10:05

Nokia and Microsoft today announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would combine our complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem, one we believe would have all the elements needed to fuel innovation – including search, location, advertising and exciting new devices.

As part of this, Nokia plans to adopt Windows Phone as our primary smartphone strategy, helping drive the future of the platform. This has not been a decision taken lightly by Nokia and we wanted to share some of the key points with our developer community.

Nokia and Microsoft together
The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem would aim to deliver differentiated and innovative products and have unrivalled scale, product breadth, geographical reach, and brand identity. With Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform, we would help drive the future of the platform by leveraging our expertise in hardware optimization, software customization, language support and scale.

Microsoft would make available the existing free Windows Phone Developer Tools; Visual Studio 2010, Expression, Silverlight and the XNA Framework to developers. Together, we will provide guidance for developers wishing to port their applications to Windows Phone.

Nokia and Microsoft would also combine services assets to drive innovation. Nokia’s Ovi Maps, for example, would be at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter, and Nokia’s application and content store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for Nokia Windows Phones, to deliver a great single commerce experience for developers and consumers alike.

The Qt ecosystem
Qt will continue to be the development framework for Symbian and Nokia will use Symbian for further devices; continuing to develop strategic applications in Qt for Symbian platform and encouraging application developers to do the same. With 200 million users worldwide and Nokia planning to sell around 150 million more Symbian devices, Symbian still offers unparalleled geographical scale for developers.

Extending the scope of Qt further will be our first MeeGo-related open source device, which we plan to ship later this year. Though our plans for MeeGo have been adapted in light of our planned partnership with Microsoft, that device will be compatible with applications developed within the Qt framework and so give Qt developers a further device to target.

Nokia Mobile Phones
Nokia Mobile Phones will drive Nokia’s “web for the next billion” strategy, leveraging Nokia’s innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people and bring them affordable access to the Internet and applications. This represents a further opportunity for developers. Nokia will leverage our proxy browser technology on mobile phones, as well as continuing to enhance Java support and SDKs, with developers and publishers able to deliver their applications to consumers through the Nokia store.

Supporting our developers
As part of the change in Nokia’s organization announced today, the Services and Developer Experiences (SDX) unit will be responsible for Nokia’s global service portfolio, developer offering, developer community relations, and integration of partner service offering. Forum Nokia will be part of that unit and will continue to support developers for Symbian smartphones and Series 40 mobile phones.

We will strengthen our ability to support developers both globally and in local markets, ensuring that we can work with you wherever you are to bring your latest applications to our store and help you leverage the global revenue opportunity with Symbian and Series 40.

For Nokia Windows Phones, Microsoft would provide tools for application developers to easily and rapidly leverage Nokia’s market reach. The integration of Microsoft Marketplace and Nokia’s content and application store would provide scalable infrastructure and compelling consumer engagement for applications for Nokia Windows Phones.

The combined stores would offer unparalleled distribution. The Ovi Store already delivers content in 190 countries, with local specific content in 90 of those. We are now seeing 4 million downloads a day, with 300,000 users signing up daily and 400,000 developers now working on applications for Nokia on Symbian. In addition to offering operator billing with 103 operators in 32 countries, we plan to support the widest range of business models for our publishers and developers.

We plan to make it easy and profitable for all developers to thrive in the ecosystem, taking advantage of the enablers (API’s) offered by ourselves, Microsoft and other partners – including location, search, monetization and advertising.

What’s next?
As we said, this announcement is about our plans to work with Microsoft and the planning will continue. Our aim is to keep you informed as plans develop, through our Forum Nokia and Ovi Publish websites, newsletters and in person. In the meantime, we want to help you maximize the existing business opportunity, developing for the approximately 50 million Qt capable Symbian smartphones already in use and approximately 150 million more that we target to sell, as well as hundreds of millions of Nokia mobile phones.

We think this is going to be an exciting journey and look forward to having you with us!

Purnima Kochikar
Head of Forum Nokia & Developer Community

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