Digia's international business has been largely focused on the production and sale of software development tools through Qt business.
During the year, major changes were made in the Qt organisation and business models. A new subsidiary company – the Qt Company Oy – was formed for the Qt business and it launched operations on 1 January 2015.
The Qt Commercial development environment is actively used by more than 5,000 desktop and embedded software customers globally. These customers represent a wide variety of sectors, including consumer electronics, automotive industry, aeronautics, energy, defence and the media. In terms of licence sales, the major markets are the United States, Germany and Japan. Most revenue from Qt comes from licence sales, which have grown during 2014.
In the embedded systems software development markets, there is a growing need for graphic user interface development tools. Driven by the huge success of smartphones, the touch screen is now practically the industry standard for all devices. In response, in 2014 Digia focused on stepping up its Qt offering to meet the challenges of embedded system development.
Digia has invested significantly in Qt, believing it to be a competitive software development environment for all leading operating systems in all target markets. The Qt ecosystem has seen exponential growth: launched in May 2014, Qt 5.3 had been downloaded more than a million times by the end of 2014.
There are three market areas in the Qt business: desktop software, embedded software and mobile applications, with customer companies developing their own applications or products in these areas.
In 2014, we took action to improve our offerings in all three areas. We released new product versions for the development of embedded systems (Qt Enterprise Embedded) and mobile applications (Android, iOS and Windows Phone support). These versions include features that are tailored exclusively for these special areas, as well as functionality exclusive to commercial licence holders.
In 2014, a new www.qt.io website was launched to serve as the official communication channel for the Qt ecosystem. In addition, changes were announced in the open source code licensing model and were introduced with Qt 5.4 in December.
Alongside product development, business development was a strong focus area in 2014. The objective was to expand Digia’s own sales network and its distributor network. Digia currently has sales offices in Europe, Russia, North America and Asia. Our own sales office network is supported by distributors in Russia, Japan, Poland, China and India. New distributors joined the team in Korea and Taiwan in 2014.
The international Qt business accounted for 21 per cent of Digia’s consolidated net sales in 2014. Net sales from the Qt business amounted to EUR 20.4 million, representing a year-on-year growth of 2.6 per cent. This was attributable to increased license sales, particularly in embedded systems. The investments made to support business growth eroded Qt’s profitability.
Efforts to boost sales will continue in 2015. Further growth will be sought from business development in embedded systems, especially in the automotive industry and consumer electronics.