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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 

Nokia Extends Web Push With Twango Purchase

Nokia Corp. announced today that it has bought an online photo- and video-sharing start-up in the latest of a series of acquisitions to expand beyond cellphones into Internet-related services in search of new sources of revenue.

The world's largest maker of cellphones by sales and market share is acquiring Twango Inc., a closely held Redmond, Wash., media-sharing Web site. The exact size of the deal isn't clear, but it is expected to be less than €70 million ($96.8 million), a person familiar with the matter said.

Amid increasing handset competition, Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo is trying to develop new revenue streams such as music downloading and mapping. Since taking the helm last year, he has acquired two other software companies: digital-music distributor Loudeye for $60 million and a small German navigation-software company called gate5 for an undisclosed price.

Last month, Mr. Kallasvuo announced a restructuring of the Espoo, Finland, company to carve out a new unit focused on growth opportunities from Web-related services. Under the reorganization, to take effect Jan. 1, Nokia will divide its cellphone business into three units: mobile devices; services and software; and a markets division responsible for managing Nokia's supply chain, as well as sales and marketing.

Twango was founded in 2004 by five former Microsoft Corp. senior managers and has 10 employees. Unlike some larger, better-known competitors such as Yahoo Inc.'s Flickr photo service and Google Inc.'s YouTube video Web site, Twango works with a range of media, including photos, video and audio. Co-founder Serena Glover said pairing with Nokia will give it access to distribution and resources. Inc.'s Flickr photo service and

Nokia, which is likely to rebrand the Twango service, plans to incorporate software into its phones to ease sending content between phones and the Internet. Twango's service is free, but Nokia plans to add elements for which customers will have to pay. The handset maker has agreements with Flickr and Six Apart Ltd.'s blogging service, Vox, which handles video, to ease uploading photos and videos from its phones. Nokia plans to continue these relationships in order to provide choice for customers.

Nokia tried to expand into content in the 1990s, offering game and ring-tone downloads, but cut back that service in 2003 and later halted it as premature

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Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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