Nokia buys mobile IM specialist
Nokia is buying the Canadian mobile instant-messenging specialists OZ Communications for an undisclosed sum. According to Nokia, the small private company from Montreal, with 220 staff, has about 5.5 million monthly paying customers. OZ has been developing and selling applications for instant-messaging on mobiles since 2003 and its software is installed on over 100 million mobiles worldwide.
On Monday this week, OZ announced a deal with T-Mobile International to bring its IM service to T-Mobile customers across the UK and Germany. OZ and Nokia have worked together before, but now the mobile phone maker wants to strengthen its market position in the consumer market.
Nokia already has two IM apps of its own. One, called simply IM, is bundled with many Nokia phones, including the E90 Communicator and most N and E series devices – but many networks remove the program from branded phones. Nokia IM requires a remote IMPS server to act as a proxy gateway, though, and such services are not well-known to users familiar with desktop IM programs such as MSN Messenger. For the slightly more intrepid, free IMPS services include Yamigo and MobJab. Nokia also offers a beta version of an XMPP-based location-aware service called Nokia Chat.
Former OZ CEO Jim Knapik will continue to lead the existing team in Montreal. Nokia says that OZ will continue to work with other industry partners.