Nokia wants to be more than just a device maker and launched its own brand of Internet services called Ovi last month, some of which will be integrated into its high-end smartphones. The acquisition of Enpocket blends advertising into Nokia's services mix. (See Nokia Stakes Claim on Services.)
"Nokia is not in the same league as Yahoo and Google, but that's where it would like to go," says Ovum Ltd. principal analyst Eden Zoller. "Enpocket gives Nokia more credibility in the mobile advertising space."
Zoller explains that with Enpocket, Nokia gains a strong international operator customer base as well as big-name advertisers. Enpocket's customers include Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL). Its advertisers include Pepsi, Expedia, Samsung Corp. , and William Hill.
Enpocket's mobile advertising platform delivers ads over different formats including SMS, MMS, mobile Internet advertising, and video.
Nokia says it will continue Enpocket's business of providing the mobile advertising platform to operators. But the device maker also wants to incorporate ads into Ovi, which would augment that service's revenue possibilities. (See Nokia Stakes Claim on Services, Nokia, Vivendi Partner, Nokia Buys gate5.)
"If we're enabling operators to offer advertising, then our share [of advertising revenue] is smaller," says a Nokia spokesman. "But if we're offering ads in our own services, then our share would be higher."
The acquisition will add to two mobile advertising services that Nokia launched in March this year, which Zoller describes as "not a clear proposition." (See Nokia Manages Ads.)
Enpocket is the latest mobile advertising firm to be snapped up in a spate of acquisitions this year. (See Startups Chase Mobile Ads Biz.)
- Medio Systems Inc. acquired Suhari in August (See Medio Wins T-Mobile Deal.)
- Aegis Group bought Marvellous Mobile in June.
- AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) acquired Third Screen Media in May. (See AOL Acquires Third Stream.)
- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) acquired ScreenTonic SA in May. (See Microsoft Acquires ScreenTonic.)
- Buongiorno SpA bought Flytxt in May. (See Buongiorno Acquires Flytxt.)
- Mobixell Networks Inc. acquired Adamind 's assets in February.