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Nokia gets into analytics

A declining share measured is still declining

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Nokia is to buy analytics service Motally, providing the technology to measure precisely how few people are using Nokia phones these days.

Motally isn't a large company - eight people based in San Francisco - but its technology is designed to be embedded in mobile applications to collect demographic and usage data, which Nokia hopes can be used to demonstrate the continuing viability of its platforms.

Nokia plans to port Motally's technology to Qt, Symbian, Meego and Java. This will take some effort, as Mobally is currently focused on Nokia's competitors, Android, iOS and BlackBerry.

Application developers routinely collect user information these days, but companies like Motally collate information from different applications. Developers are encouraged to embed a small quantity of monitoring code in exchange for information about what their users are doing. The company running the service can then make money on the aggregated data.

The best-known of such companies is Flurry, which upset Steve Jobs by reporting that applications were being tested (within the Apple campus) on the iPad device, well before it was launched. Apple has since said that it won't allow such monitoring on its platform, other than what it performs itself, but that ban hasn't yet been imposed.

That won't be a problem for Motally now that it will be focusing on Nokia's platforms, but the value of such information is directly proportional to the number of instances that the company can get embedded into handsets. That means that Ovi is going to have to do a better job selling applications if there's going to be anything worth measuring. ®

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