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Nokia Acquires Social Networking Firm Plazes; Transforms Into Information Company

Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has agreed to purchase the privately owned German startup, Plazes for an undisclosed sum; the Finnish company expects to integrate Plazes's functionality into its Nokia's Services & Software Division.

The acquisition will help Nokia to "accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy".

Plazes provide users with the ability to track other users whereabouts as a socially acceptable activity by planning, recording and sharing their social activities with particular emphasis on location.

It is not impossible that Nokia could use Plazes as a way to complement its other services like Ovi music store, its GPS services - from Navteq which Nokia bought for USD 8.1 billion - or its Nokia maps - which it acquired for USD 250 million back in 2006.

Earlier last month, Vodafone acquired ZYB, a mobile social network company, for USD 31.5 million, hinting at a possible fragmentation of the mobile social network market, especially since Myspace or Facebook could still announce location or context aware versions of their services.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.