Nokia buys social networking site Plazes

HELSINKI Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:47am EDT

The Nokia Research and Development Centre is seen in Helsinki April 11, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

The Nokia Research and Development Centre is seen in Helsinki April 11, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The world's top cellphone maker Nokia said on Monday it has agreed to buy social networking start-up Plazes as part of its major push into offering Internet services.

Plazes (www.plazes.com/) provides location-aware services that people can use to plan, record, and share their social activities.

Nokia did not disclose the value of the deal.

"This acquisition helps Nokia to accelerate its vision of bringing people and places closer together, in line with our broader services strategy," Niklas Savander, the head of Nokia's Internet services, said in a statement.

Companies such as Plazes are trying to tap into the potential for new services as more mobile phones get equipped with technology to pinpoint their location.

Nokia has said it would have dozens of such phones to offer by the end of this year.

To achieve new growth as the cellphone business is set to mature in coming years Nokia started to invest heavily in building up its presence in Internet service.

It has offered $8.1 billion for U.S. digital maps firm Navteq -- a cornerstone of its services push -- and has said it would invest millions more this year and next.

Plazes has staff of 13, and its main operations are in Berlin.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Quentin Bryar/Rory Channing)

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