Nokia Buys Assets of Social Networking Maker Plum

Nokia purchases some of the assets of Plum, a company that specializes in cloud-based social media and messaging technology. Nokia, which is looking to strengthen its mobile app offerings against the likes of Apple and RIM, says it plans to integrate the technology with its Services unit.

Nokia, which is trying to strengthen its mobile application offerings against the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Research In Motion, is acquiring some of the assets of Plum, which specializes in social media.

Nokia and Plum announced the deal Sept. 11. The two companies did not disclose the full financial details. However, the acquisition is expected to affect about 10 employees in Plum's Boston office.

Plum, a privately held company, specializes in what it calls "cloud-based social media sharing and messaging services." In an interview with the All Things Digital blog, Plum's founder described the company as developing "microsocial networking" technology that offer users a more intimate experience than larger sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Nokia plans to merge Plum's technology into its Nokia Services unit. The Plum assets are also expected to complement Nokia's own Social Location services.

Ultimately, Nokia will likely use the social networking technology to improve its own Ovi Store, which competes against the likes of the Apple App Store, RIM's offering for the BlackBerry and the application being developed for Google Android. Microsoft is also expected to launch its own app store for its Windows Mobile operating system later in fall 2009.

While smartphones remain the one bright spot in the worldwide handset market, applications for these devices are now driving the industry and attracting more and more developers. Juniper Research released a report in July claiming mobile app downloads could reach 20 billion annually.