Nokia shutters Aussie development facility


news Finnish mobile manufacturer Nokia has revealed plans to close an Australian development facility which was one of the main global software groups working on the Qt application development toolkit which Nokia acquired with its 2008 buy of Norwegian company Trolltech.

“We have received word that the Brisbane Australia office, consisting of the teams working on Qt3D, QtDeclarative, QtMultimedia, QtSensors, and QtSystems modules, as well as the CI/QA team for Qt, will be shut down,” wrote Nokia senior software engineer Lorn Potter on an email mailing list associated with Qt this week. “Our last day is August 31.”

According to Potter, individual developers would still retain their status within the Qt Project as a whole, although whether they chose to remain working on Qt would be up to them. “Personally, I will continue if possible because I still have plans/research I want to do,” he wrote.

It’s not clear how many Nokia staff currently work at the Brisbane office, but in what appears to be an outdated statement on Nokia’s web site, the office is listed as having been opened in 1999 and being home to about 50 staff in 2008 when it was acquired with the Trolltech buy. “Brisbane trolls enjoy a relaxed work environment that provides great facilities,” the site boasts. “There are also a number of different social and sporting activities that take place throughout the year.”

Qt is one of the better known cross-platform application frameworks used globally in a number of high-profile platforms such as the KDE user interface project for Linux and Unix operating systems. It is believed Nokia originally planned to incorporate Qt as a much wider platform within the Symbian and other mobile operating systems, but the company has over the past several years broadly re-focused its operations around Microsoft’s Windows Phone ecosystem.

The move was greeted with dismay by a number of other Qt developers on the mailing list, but it does not appear as if it was unexpected, given Nokia’s shift away from its prior platforms and the company’s broader financial woes.

This appears to be a logical move for Nokia, but it is sad to see yet another Australian development group lose their positions. Established Australian software and gaming houses have really been hurting over the past several years. I guess it’s a good thing that there are now so many IT startups exploding in Australia; hopefully there are plenty of jobs for savvy developers around, if not precisely in the fields which they would prefer.

Image credit: Nokia