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Nokia buys bit-side to boost mapping services


Published: 28 January, 2009


Nokia has made no secret of the importance it attaches to mapping and location applications, in its drive to reinvent itself as a mobile web services provider. After all, it spent a huge $8.1bn on mapping firm Navteq last year. Now it has made a rather smaller purchase, of Berlin-based applications firm, bit-side.

The software house focuses on Symbian and Java applications and Nokia says its technologies should accelerate the development of the Nokia Maps family, part of its Ovi portal. It will enable the Finnish firm to support routing and navigation at accelerated speed, the company said.

"Nokia has been working with bit-side since 2007, and bit-side has become a strategic development partner to us," said Michael Halbherr, head of Nokia's activities in one of the hottest areas of the mobile web, 'social location', which integrates social networking functions with location and presence awareness. This is one of the key areas where Nokia needs to step up its challenge to Google, virtually the incumbent with its own Maps platform.

Thom Brenner, managing director of 39-strong bit-side, commented in a statement: "It will be like a catalyst to our developments. We share Nokia's visions on social and location related services and future of their enabling technologies". The company will become part of the Nokia Services unit. No financial terms were disclosed.

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