Nokia sells messaging business

Nokia has quietly sold off its operator-braded messaging business.

The buyer is Synchronica, itself an established upstart in providing communications and messaging services. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it will see Synchronica getting access to all of Nokia’s email, instant messaging, social networking and client software.

It’s an interesting acquisition. With it, Synchronica gets the contract to look after major US carriers, including AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. Synchronica will get all of the sourcecode for Nokia’s messaging client and server software. It’ll also get the Nokia code for Series 40 and Symbian devices. Nokia will continue to load the software onto Series 40 phones but Synchronica will slowly take over the development.

250 employees will go from Nokia to Synchronica.

Intriguingly, Synchronica was keen on the Symbian and Series 40 client software. Symbian may not be around forever as Nokia increasingly calls itself a product company and loyally pushes out its Windows phones.

A possibility is that Synchronica will take the technology and push it through its own Mobile Gateway, already a popular service particularly in emerging markets. 

TechEye contacted Synchronica – while it could not provide us with specific dates the talks began, we’re told that early this year is not a fair estimate. Nicole Meissner, Chief Operating Officer, told us: “Deals like this one do not happen over night. Certainly, negotiations have been going on for months.”

When we asked Nokia if the reason for the sell is because it wants to be a “product company” we were told we have it right. A spokesperson said: “Yes, I think you have it right. The operator branded messaging business provides operators with their own branded messaging service, across a broad range of Nokia and non-Nokia devices.

“As our focus is really on having services that differentiate our products, we’ll retain the Nokia Messaging service, which ships with our Series 40 and Symbian devices, but are divesting OBM to Synchronica.”

Here’s the official statement: “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.”