Nokia Scoops Up App Analytics Startup Motally

Mobile phone giant Nokia today said it's buying Motally in a move aimed at strengthening its mobile applications business.

Motally, a tiny eight-person startup based in San Francisco, offers a service that enables mobile app developers and mobile Web site publishers to track how their applications and sites are being used, with an eye to optimizing them for user engagement and improved ROI.

At present, the service supports apps on the Apple iPad and iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry, and the open source Google-backed Android mobile OS. However, Nokia said it would extend Motally's service to support developers working on the platforms found across Nokia's Ovi mobile offerings -- the cross-platform app and user-interface framework Qt, and Symbian, the increasingly open source mobile OS overseen by Nokia.

It also will ultimately support Java and MeeGo, the open source Linux OS led by Nokia and Intel and targeting smartphones, netbooks and other low-power mobile devices.

"The acquisition underpins Nokia's drive to deliver in-application and mobile Web browsing analytics to Ovi's growing, global ecosystem of developers and publishers, enabling partners to better connect with their customers and optimize and monetize their offering," Marco Argenti, vice president for media at Nokia," said in a statement.

Two-year-old Motally said it has patent-pending technology that ensures that data is collected and reported accurately from smartphone apps and publishers' mobile sites. At the moment, it offers both a paid Enterprise edition of its service, along with a free Community version that lacks custom reporting, API integration, and dedicated tracking servers and appliances.

The purchase is expected to close in third quarter.

Another Assault Against Apple's App Success?

When it does, the acquisition could help Nokia better compete in wooing application developers to its platforms. While the company remains the largest smartphone vendor in the world -- and Symbian, which is at the heart of its devices, the most popular mobile OS -- Nokia's hold on the market continues to loosen as rivals like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Android grow.

Last week, industry researcher Gartner said that Symbian remains the leader worldwide in mobile operating systems, followed by RIM's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry and Android, which bumped Apple from the No. 3 spot. In the U.S. alone, however, Android is in the lead, according to Gartner.

Still, it's Apple that continues setting much of the trends when it comes to success in the mobile applications realm. Last month, industry researcher Ovum said Apple accounted for 67 percent of all smartphone applications downloads in 2009, even though the iPhone itself makes up only 14 percent of all smartphones. Nokia's Symbian, meanwhile, powers 49 percent of the smartphone market, but Nokia itself has managed to get only 9 percent of the total market for app downloads.

Apple has also emerged as the most profitable mobile vendor, according to recent data from industry researcher Asmyco. According to Asmyco, Apple reaped 48 percent of the mobile industry's total operating income -- an astounding result considering its small share of the market.

Christopher Saunders is senior managing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, Apple, analytics, Nokia, mobile apps