Nokia Buoys App Store With Motally Acquisition


skipping_smallADOTAS – Ask just about any American which mobile operating system has the largest percentage of smartphone market share in the world and he or she will likely answer BlackBerry — maybe a few delusional souls will reply iPhone.

Wrong on both accounts — earlier this month BBC News reported that during Q2:2010 smartphones with the Symbian OS — primarily from Nokia — made up 43.5% all smartphones globally, compared to 18% BlackBerry and 13% iPhone.

Nokia? the American thinks. You mean that Japanese company that built my crappy first cell phone 10 years ago? No, I mean the Finnish company whose Symbian OS is highly popular outside the United States. An estimated 300,000 Symbian phones are sold each day, compared to 200,000 Android phones.

However, most second quarter reports found that Nokia’s smartphone share has been waning while Apple and Android surge. Nokia’s response is the N8, loaded with the revised Symbian 3, which is reportedly optimized for touchscreen phones. In addition, there’s the promise of a better OVI app store, which seemed to be the aim of Nokia’s acquisition of San Francisco-based mobile analytics company Motally Friday for an undisclosed amount.

Motally’s analytics, which are compatible with Apple, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices, will be adapted to Nokia’s Symbian and Meego, operating systems as well as the Qt user interface framework. Founded in 2008, the company develops in-app tracking services that identify carrier, device and user location as well as how apps are being used.

“The acquisition underpins Nokia’s drive to deliver in-application and mobile web browsing analytics to OVI’s growing, global ecosystem of developers and publishers, enabling partners to better connect with their customers and optimize and monetize their offering,” said Nokia Vice President of Media Marco Argenti in a press release.

Krishna Subramanian, cofounder of mobile ad exchange Mobclix, believes the acquisition will solidify Nokia’s place in the mobile app space by encouraging developers to build apps for OVI — but only if the company’s advertising and monetization strategies are clear.

“Based on our experience, you need to provide developers with an incentive – e.g., a way to make money from the apps they make –- and you cannot do that with analytics alone,” he said.

It’s interesting is that Nokia purchased an analytics play while rival OS makers such as Apple and Google bought their own mobile ad networks (the soon-to-be-shut-down Quattro and AdMob, respectively). Even BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion had been in talks with Millennial Media, though The Wall Street Journal reported last week they had stalled. Back in 2007 Nokia acquired mobile advertising technology company Enpocket to build out its ad platform, but ClickZ notes that both Nokia’s and Enpocket’s advertising services sites are not currently live.

While Nokia has said that Motally’s analytics will still be available as a cross-platform solution, Subramanian says that as the company puts more focus on supporting Nokia’s app platform, developers may abandon Motally. He also thinks the acquisition is a sign of further consolidation to come in the space.

eMarketer Mobile Senior Analyst Noah Elkin told ClickZ that the acquisition is “one piece in a bigger push toward the United States market,” but Subramanian disagreed, arguing that integrating Motally is chiefly for boosting the flailing OVI app store.

“Right now, it’s one of the smallest, if not the smallest, mobile app stores,” he said. “In fact, they have continuously been losing market share because it’s so difficult for developers to support their platform.”


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