[qi:064] One has to give Nokia credit for recognizing very early-on that it is the software that separates men from toys – sorry, I meant premium brand phones from mere mobiles. It started off integrating Flickr and various other services with its phones, and today it took a step further.
The company acquired Redmond, Wash.-based start-up, Twango – a combo of YouTube, Flickr, Shutterfly, Photobucket and Xdrive – for about $96.8 million.
That’s a whole lot of money for a company which no one really seems to have cared about much. Liz had previously covered the company started by five Microsoft refugees.
Nokia has designs on a group that captures the upside offered by web services, including music services. Nokia had previously bought Loudeye for $60 million, and gate5, a navigation data company for an undisclosed amount. Nokia, like most handset makers is finding itself in an awkward position – squeezed by the carriers who want to put their own services on the handsets and turn the device makers into simple “gear” providers.
At the same time it is also seeing web giants like Google trying to come into its domain and squeeze it out by offering mobilized web services. The challenge for Nokia will be to integrate all these services into its phones and its increasingly cluttered Symbian OS, make them simple and yet at the same time find out a way to figure out a way to keep its carrier partners happy. That is by no means an easy task.
Related: Twango, for a late bloom.