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9/28/2009
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Nokia Buys Travel Social Network Dopplr

The phone maker is trying to boost its mobile Internet services to better compete against the iPhone, BlackBerry, and others.

Nokia smartphones may soon be friendlier for road warriors, as the world's largest handset maker said Monday it acquired the social travel network Dopplr.

Dopplr describes itself as a "Social Atlas," and it's a Web-based service that enables travelers to create trip itineraries and share them with friends. Users can share tips about local cuisine, hotels, and other venues, and the service also features integration with other social networks like Twitter and Flickr. Dopplr also has an iPhone application, and Nokia said it would not change the current availability of the service.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Nokia representatives said it was far less than the $14 to $22 million price tag that was being reported last week. Dopplr has seven employees in London and Helsinki, and these workers will be integrated into Nokia's services unit.

"While I really don't know what Nokia plans to do with Dopplr I believe that an integration of the service with Nokia phones would make a lot of sense," said Martin Varsavsky, an angel investor in Dopplr, in a blog post. "A mobile Dopplr is the ultimate travel guide. Anytime, anywhere and in the palm of your hand you have the best restaurants, bars, clubs... that people who you trust recommend."

Nokia still leads the world in smartphone sales and market share, but it does not get the same amount of buzz as the iPhone, Research In Motion, Android, or webOS. The company is in the middle of a major push to bolster its handsets with the Ovi platform by offering services like navigation, gaming, location-based features, and multimedia applications. The company sees these services as a way to make its phones more attractive, as well as generate additional revenue beyond handset sales.

The world's largest handset maker has been using its size to help this services push, as it has purchased multiple social networking, mobile messaging, and multimedia companies. Nokia also spent more than $8 billion to acquire Navteq last year, and it plans to use this location data as a platform for the next generation of mobile content.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Dell's $3.9 billion buy of Perot Systems. Download the report here (registration required).

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