Nokia Acquires Plazes

June 23rd, 2008 at 12:00 am

 nokia plazes logo

The world’s largest retailer of mobile phones, Nokia , has just purchased Berlin-based startup Plazes .

Plazes is a location-based social network that basically allows mobile users to see where their contacts are.

Nokia, though being the largest and best known phone maker, is also feeling the pressure from the emergence and rapid  availability of GPS enabled handsets.  Of course they also have theri devices but GPS is not as fun if you have no friends to share it with.

Apple already announced that the new iPhone would have GPS.  This poses a huge threat to other mobile manufacturers since the iPhone already leads in the mobile web browsing arena, a market Nokia isn’t really excelling in.  With the new GPS enabled device, Apple now stands to dominate location-based mobile social networking especially with the iPhone SDK available to thousands of developers.

Nokia has seen this and are making their move to counter the iPhone effect.  First they acquired Gate5 in 2006 to jumpstart their location based services, then Navteq in 2007, and now Plazes.

The German startup  says in its blog , "If all goes well, in the near future Plazes will be made available to millions of Nokia customers both online and on millions of mobile devices."

Plazes will retain all of its 13 employees and will become part of Nokia’s Services and Sofware Unit.

Nokia has not disclosed the amount they paid for Plazes but had  this to say,  "This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy."