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7/16/2008
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Nokia Completes Plazes Acquisition

The deal will help Nokia beef up its location-based mobile social networking offerings.

In a move that will help Nokia increase its presence in mobile social networking, the company has completed its acquisition of the privately owned startup Plazes. The acquisition had previously been announced at the end of June, and the purchase price was not disclosed.

The Berlin-based Plazes enables mobile users to plan, record, and share their social activities using various navigation aids, including GPS location, MAC address of networks, and Wi-Fi access. TechCrunch described the service as "Twitter with geotagging, points of interest, and social networking features."

"This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader service strategies," said Niklas Savander, head of Nokia services and software, in the original announcement.

Already the global leader in mobile handset sales, this move will beef up the company's strategy to provide users with Nokia-branded entertainment options through its Ovi platform. This platform will offer features like music, gaming, and social networking on users' cell phones and smartphones.

The acquisition comes as Ovi faces increased competition from Apple's App Store, which is offering users a plethora of business and entertainment options. The store also has many mobile social networking offerings from Loopt, Limbo, and others.

The Plazes deal also builds upon Nokia's 2007 acquisition of Navteq, upon which it's laying its mobile navigation and social networking features. The Navteq deal had faced claims that it would stifle competition in the mobile handset market, but European regulators approved the deal earlier this month.

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