Dan Nancarrow August 03, 2012
Qt, owned by Nokia. Brisbane office to close.
A Brisbane subsidiary of Nokia has become one of the victims of the global company's decision to shed 19 per cent of its workforce.
The Finnish company will shut down the Australian office of 60 employees on August 31, with three people remaining to wind down IT systems until December.
The Brisbane software development team Qt Development Frameworks, formerly known as Trolltech, had been working on the Qt cross-platform application framework for the former mobile phone giant since being purchased by Nokia in 2008 for $US153 million.
It has offices in Norway, Germany, China and the US.
Staff at the office in Brisbane Technology Park, Eight Mile Plains, had been concerned about their fate after Nokia announced plans to slash 10,000 jobs worldwide, and close development centres in Germany and Canada in June. The cuts add to nearly 40,000 jobs lost since 2010.
Nokia posted a loss of $US1.2 billion in the first quarter of this year. Its share price has fallen more than 70 per cent since the company announced its Windows-based Lumia smartphones strategy last year.
Brisbane-based Nokia senior software engineer Lorn Potter said the office was closing because Nokia had moved to the Windows Phone operating system and no longer required the Qt cross-platform interface. However, Qt is also used in Windows desktop, Linux and other applications, including by Google, Samsung and Skype. The company claims 350,000 developers use it.
Potter said RIM was also using Qt - QtQuick and QtMobility - for its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system.
''At the same time of the Germany closing announcements, Nokia stopped the internal project we were all also working on,'' he said.
''Nokia had no use for cross platform Qt. [The office closure] was not totally unexpected, and it is somewhat of a relief because now we know what is going to happen. Whereas before, it was not known more than at some point we will no longer be Nokia employees. No one wants to lose their jobs, especially ones that grew from the culture of Trolltech.''
A Nokia spokeswoman confirmed the new operational structure would affect 60 employees in Brisbane.
''As an organisation, we have taken some painful but necessary steps to streamline our operations and accelerate our progress towards the strategic goal that was announced on June 14,'' she said.
''To support this period of transition Nokia is significantly reducing certain R&D projects, and has cancelled the project being worked on by Nokia's R&D team in Brisbane. As a consequence, the Brisbane office will be closed by December 2012.''
Trolltech was founded in Oslo in 1994. Its Brisbane office was opened in 1999 by game developer Warwick Allison. It created the Qtopia operating system for the original Sharp Zaurus personal digital assistant and the Trolltech Greenphone.
The Qt framework was used for making the interface on Nokia's N8 and N9 phones.
Lorne said that, since Qt was an open source project and had open governance, he would continue to work on Qt Sensors and QSensorsGestures in his spare time.