Blog Post

Dopplr Commits Hara-kiri, Sells to Nokia

[qi:gigaom_icon_geolocation] At our Mobilize 09 conference, someone joked that Nokia was the Yahoo (s YHOO) of the mobile world. I’m sure he meant that 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.

That’s why I think that Dopplr, a London-based startup that marries location services with the social graph, is committing hara-kiri. The company is rumored to have been acquired by Nokia (s NOK) for between $15 million and $22 million. I’m happy for the founders and backers of Dopplr, after all it is a nice financial outcome for a service that hasn’t grown beyond a base of passionate users. It’s only a matter of time before Nokia mucks up this acquisition, however, much like it has in the past.

7 Responses to “Dopplr Commits Hara-kiri, Sells to Nokia”

  1. N goes DOWN

    As a Finn I can say that Nokia has no ability to work with the software. User experience of platform as well all software is something I wouldn’t dare to offer Any of my customers.

    Why Google gives u better experience ? And their spftware is free for you.. Google services aren’t perfect but far beyond Nokias. Nokia makes all pretty, but without content and simplicity. AND they try to cash you.

    Give us simplicity and functionality. Do not try to capitalize everything. Make it better than all other players or not at all.

    Good example is the lack of touch screen. Why on earth they are not doing phones that are better than any other in the market?

    A) they can’t
    B) they imagine that they can afford to it (to make x-number incrementally improved generations (They don’t have btw.))

  2. S60 has always been a bit of a mess. Symbian^4 with Qt is supposed to save S60, but we’ll see. It’s that or Maemo anyway. The latter is there already and building up a better and more coherent developer community than S60 ever had, but Nokia are only throwing that at mobile computer devices. Tablets and the like.

    Maemo could be considered the backup plan, but for mobiles they would need to throw a lot more power into the handsets for it. That’s Nokia’s strength and weakness. The ability to mass produce low power handsets and run a full OS on it and only S60 is designed for such low requirements (well S40 also, which still is popular amongst the less ‘smart’ but extremely popular ranges).

    Dopplr, if they use it right it could be an asset, but they have a habit of just absorbing these companies and not really doing much with them, or alternatively reinventing the wheel and snuffing out the original (see Widsets). But then, acquisitions are often these days more about IP and/or customers than the product.

  3. OhhJohnny

    By platform, are you talking about their operating systems? I agree that S60 is long in the tooth, even with the Symbian Foundation revamping. Maemo’s a bit of a different story though, as it is pretty robust and was built with mobile Internet connectivity in mind.

    • Ohhjohnny (nice moniker)

      I do mean S60. I think the Maemo isn’t going to arrive soon enough and by the time it does, Nokia will be left scrambling for developer attention which is quickly shifting to Apple, Google, RIM and others.

      Sorry for not making that clear in my post.