Synchronica to acquire Nokia's operator messaging business

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Synchronica, a UK based company that provides mobile messaging solution, is to acquire Nokia's operator branded messaging business. This business provides a number of American operators with branded email and IM applications and services. In addition, under a professional services contract (outsourcing), Synchronica will take over the development of the related Series 40 client software and the messaging gateway, which is used by both Series 40 and Symbian devices.

The agreement will off load another of Nokia's service provision businesses, reflecting Nokia's desire to concentrate on its core business. This is part of a wider strategy, which has seen Digia take over the professional service and licensing arm of Qt and will see Accenture take over responsibility for Symbian development.

Synchronica's CEO Carsten Brinkschulte said:

"We look forward to forging successful, long-term partnerships with the carrier customers in North America for providing mass market, operator-branded messaging services, as well as with Nokia for ongoing development and support of the Nokia messaging services".

In a statement Nokia noted:

"Though Operator Branded Mobile Messaging is an offering valued by network operators, it is no longer a core business for Nokia. We are pleased that the business will continue after its planned acquisition by Synchronica, a company focused on mobile messaging in both emerging and developed markets. Synchronica has a track record in driving messaging functionality in email, social networking and instant messaging. We believe that Synchronica can offer a great future to our employees and our customers."

As a result of the agreement around 250 employees, externals and contracts are expected to transfer from Nokia to Synchronica. The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of July, will grow Synchronica's scale and geographic reach making it one of the key players in mobile messaging solutions business.

Operator branded messaging business

Nokia's operator branded messaging business dates from its acquisition of Oz Communications in 2008. It gives consumers access to multiple email (Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, Gmail and other) or instant messaging services (ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, AOL and others) from a single brand-able application.

A number of US and Canadian operators use the offering to provided branded email and instant messaging experiences to their customers across a broad range of devices (including non-Nokia devices). Synchronica will take over these contracts (10 operators, 6 million active users) and continue to run the service. It plans to merge the product with its own Synchronica Mobile Gateway, which it says will create a "a superior solution with significantly enhanced functionality". 

Messaging gateway and Series 40 client application

In addition to the operator branded messaging business, which represents the major part of the deal, Synchronica will take over the development and maintenance of the related Series 40 client software and messaging gateway. Nokia will continue to pre-load the software on its Series 40 devices.

The messaging gateway is used in both Series 40 and Symbian devices. It is the server side enabler that allows the Nokia Messaging (older devices) and Mail (newer devices) applications to turn any consumer email address into a 'push' service and also helps optimise data connections for email delivery.

The agreement only outsources the development of the gateway software. The data centres and servers required to run the Nokia Messaging service will be retained and controlled by Nokia. There will be no operational impact on the service.

More details in the Synchronica press release.