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Nokia bets on Social Networking

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 24, 2009

Acquires CELLITY


July 2009: Nokia acquired mobile software firm CELLITY.the deal promises to bolster its social networking competencies–cellity’s Address 2.0 solution enables users to import all their contact data from a wide variety of sources (e.g., cellphone address books, Outlook, Twitter and social networks) and store it in one place, simplifying voice and data connections across the mobile and web platforms.

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Acquires Micro networking site PLUM

If one were to believe Nokia Conversations, Social networking is trending to Micro Social networking and that is a trend that Nokia seems to be investing in through its acquisition of PLUM, the micro-social network startup.


Plum will compliment the Nokia’s Social Location services, with the acquired assets becoming part of Nokia’s Services unit. Plum develops and operates a cloud-based social media sharing and messaging service for private groups. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where users can collect hundreds or thousands of friends, Plum targets smaller social bodies. It is suited for families, co-workers, neighborhoods, sports, schools, faith and any other existing social group. Plum is like Facebook for families, but more private and intimate.

Nokia asks a very different question, a thought provoking one in the age of multiplying networking: Is there a fatigue filling in maintaining large networks?

Quoting Nokia Conversations: “Are we reaching a threshold now where we begin cutting back on the size of our social network contacts pool? Or do we keep collecting connections, and is the skill then in the segmenting those people and customizing the sorts of experiences we want to share with some groups and not others? Does the blurring of the lines between the personal and professional in these social spaces require more privacy customization?”

Business logic wise, this is being seen as an effort to expand the Social Location services approach central to its Ovi Store virtual app marketplace. The positioning is different from Facebook type mass networking to individual and restricted network of families. Augmented with Nokia’s impressive device penetration there may be some promise in the story. We will watch the space for more.


Nokia’s acquisition of Dopplr: Whither business sense?

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 24, 2009

Nokia has been on an acquisition spree lately. Celity, Bit-Side, Plum and now Dopplr. One hear’s about the acquisition of Palm a well. That’s been on air for some-time now and we still don’t seem to have any definite answer on that.

Acquisition of Dopplr


Dopplr, a travel social network site headquartered in London, owned and operated by Dopplr Ltd. in Helsinki, Finland is rumored to have been acquired by Nokia. The travel social networking service is based on the idea of “intention broadcasting” where you publish your intention to visit somewhere in the future, thus making happy coincidences in your social network less and less coincidental (and thus happier, more efficient). An year ago, Dopplr was voted by ReadWriteWeb to be one of the top ten international products of 2008. (Read Here)

The purchase price is said to be between €10 million and €15 million. The site has never grown to huge usage, but its core users are passionate about Dopplr. This is in contrast to Tripit, which has a larger audience and caters to the same socialize-while-you-travel idea.

The problem with this idea seems to be that, it belonged as part of something bigger, not as a standalone site. There is too much social capital that is required for yet another “community” website. One single purpose did not warrant another log on, another bit of data input. The idea was nicely executed, however, but not compelling enough on its own. The flip of this is that Dopplr may add up to Nokia’s world well and would get the threshold volume it always lagged.

Dopplr II

Interestingly, in 2008, Nokia purchased Plazes – another location-based service with social networking roots. Plazes offers users the opportunity to share locations and activities with friends while geotagging the sites they like. Dopplr serves a similar purpose; however, friends are meant to meet up while traveling.

If this sounds familiar it’s because services like Foursquare and most recently Gowalla have gotten iPhone users into the habit of checking in and leaving tips at their favorite haunts and watering holes.

With Plazes in 2008 and Dopplr in 2009, both serving the same purpose, I wonder how Nokia has visioned its advance in Travel social networking. Admittedly, it does seem to have little of any worth in two acquisitions of same nature without doing much on the first one.

Presenting Om Malik’s reaction to Nokia’s acquisition strategy:

“…Nokia was bereft of direction and purpose. You can also extend that argument to Nokia’s acquisition strategy. The company has been buying up tiny companies, hoping to get a bit of web services magic. Unfortunately, all these acquisitions are like Band-aids applied on a cut carotid artery — they wouldn’t do much good unless Nokia has a platform that’s developed specifically for the mobile Internet.” Ref:

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