Nokia is buying Novarra, a U.S.-based mobile browser provider. Once the deal closes this summer, Nokia apparently plans to incorporate Novarra's software into its smartphones. Although Nokia occupies a substantial portion of the world mobile market, it has struggled in the United States against competitors such as Apple, with whom it has been trading patent-infringement lawsuits since last year. Recent attempts by Nokia to raise its customer attractiveness include adding a free Skype app for its phones.
Nokia announced March 26 that it will acquire Novarra, a
U.S.-based mobile browser provider, for an undisclosed sum. The purchase will
theoretically result in Nokia incorporating Novarra software into its Symbian
smartphone operating system. The deal will supposedly close this summer.
"Connecting the next billion consumers to the Internet will
happen primarily on mobile devices," Niklas Savander, executive vice president
of services for Nokia, wrote in a March 26 statement. "By
driving innovation in all segments of our portfolio, we are building one of the
largest consumer audiences for Web services and content. Novarra's Internet
services technology delivered on the world's most widely used mobile platform,
Nokia's Series 40, will help us achieve this."
Novarra's products include the Vision Browser, with a
customizable modular framework and an ability to be customized to specific
hardware and software requirements, and Vision Platform, whose architecture
offers "open, standards-based interfaces to easily integrate with network and
content data sources for personalization and mobile context."
Although Nokia holds the lion's share of the global mobile
market with its Symbian operating system and wide selection of devices, it has
struggled against competitors such as Apple and Research In Motion in the U.S.
high-end N97 smartphone, launched in June 2009, sold only 500,000 units by
, a number considered soft by experts in the context of sales for
rival devices such as the Apple iPhone 3G S, which moved more
than 1 million units during its first weekend of release.
recent steps to raise its profile have included adding a Skype app for its
, via its Ovi Store, which allows for free Skype-to-Skype calls and
instant messages. However, it faces competition on that front from Verizon,
which announced it would also make a Skype app available to customers with
BlackBerry or Google Android devices.
However, Nokia also faces potential headwinds thanks to
back-and-forth legal action against Apple, with the two companies suing each
other over supposed violations of their respective patents. Those lawsuits
could drag on for two more years, according to a March 12 Reuters report. Nokia
alleges that Apple has violated 10 of its patents, which Apple claims that
Nokia violated 13 of its own patents.
"What they're involved in here is nothing life or death to
either company," Ezra
Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK.
just a matter of how much one is going to pay the other for rights to some