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Although reports of the acquisition had been circling since last week, Nokia made it official today: it has acquired London and Helsinki-based mobile travel startup Dopplr for an undisclosed amount. According to rumors, the acquisition price is somewhere between €10 million and €15 million.
Dopplr, which currently has seven employees, will join Nokia's services division. According to Nokia's press release, "The acquisition does not change the current Dopplr service which is available at Dopplr.com and on platforms where Dopplr is integrated".
The Dopplr acquisition is the latest in a string of software acquisitions the mobile phone manufacturer has made. In June of last year, it acquired Plazes, a Berlin-based mobile social network. And earlier this month, it bought the assets of Plum Ventures, Inc., which provides social networking and messaging tools for groups.
According to Martin Varsavsky, an investor in both Dopplr and Plazes, Nokia is a "force of good in the European start up scene". As Varsavsky sees it, Nokia "is weak is in services" and therefore "small acquisitions make sense" in the realm of software. I tend to agree, although the real question, of course, is whether Nokia is focusing on the right services. When one looks at the success Apple has realized with the App Store, for instance, and then compares it to Nokia's attempt, one has to wonder if Nokia is playing too much around the edges, so to speak. While there's definitely value in services like Dopplr and Plazes, and even more value in the knowledge their teams bring, it's questionable if these small acquisitions can collectively turn into game-changers.
Whatever the case, it's nice to see some additional M&A activity in the consumer internet space. Times are tough for startups, especially in the UK, so an acquisition by Nokia is probably not such a bad outcome for Dopplr.
Photo credit: dpstyles™ via Flickr.