Mergers & acquisitions

Qualcomm Gets Social With iSkoot Buy

A Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) subsidiary, the Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC), said today it has acquired mobile Internet vendor iSkoot . The purchase should boost its push data services play into the feature phone market and make Qualcomm tech more attractive to wireless operators.

iSkoot already counts a number of device makers and US wireless operators as its customers, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless . It got its start in 2005 as a mobile VoIP provider and was the first to introduce a carrier-sanctioned VoIP service over the wide area wireless network with Three UK in the UK.

Now, the company focuses on making feature phones feel more smartphone-like in the form of a free mobile app that aggregates social networks, email or IM, and news feeds into a single screen.

What made iSkoot appealing to QuIC is its focus on doing all this in a way that doesn’t tax wireless operators' networks. Through its Kalaida platform and iSkoot-managed proxy servers, the company transcodes and aggregates data traffic so that the frequency and megabytes transmitted are reduced. It says that by doing this, operators can deliver "compelling interactive experiences with minimal impact on network and handset performance."

QuIC was formed a year ago with a similar objective. It optimizes open-source software with Qualcomm technologies with a focus on open-source initiatives like Linux and Webkit and open-source operating systems Symbian Ltd. , Android, and Chrome.

So for its parent company, the iSkoot acquisition means a built-in push data services platform, a social-networking aggregator, and voice 2.0 services to market to its wireless operator customers. (See Qualcomm Creates Open-Source Unit.)

As a part of QuIC, iSkoot says it will continue to support its current customers as it integrates its offering with Qualcomm's products and helps develop open-source data management for mobile devices.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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