Comcast to Buy Plaxo for Social Networking

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Comcast will acquire social-networking company Plaxo to power upcoming community features on its TV, broadband data and phone services.

The Mountain View, California, startup will help Comcast build social-networking capabilities that subscribers will reach through the U.S. cable giant's SmartZone Communications Center, said Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast expects the acquisition of privately held Plaxo to close in the next two months, Khoury said. The companies have already been working together in developing SmartZone, which is due to become available later this year, she said.

Plaxo will add community capabilities to cross-platform services that can bring into play all three of Comcast's basic platforms, Khoury said. For example, subscribers will be able to go into a set of contacts stored on Smartzone, pick out a friend to share photos with, and let that friend view the photos on TV via Comcast cable service.

Comcast has about 25 million cable TV subscribers and 14 million Internet subscribers. Battling to get consumers to identify with, spend time with, and remain loyal to them, service providers and entertainment companies alike are tapping into social networking.

Plaxo is just one of many social-networking sites that have sprung up on the Web in recent years. It allows automatic updates of business address-book information. Plaxo earlier this year signed on to the Google-led Open Social specifications aimed at making different social-networking services compatible.

All of Plaxo's approximately 50 employees will be absorbed into Comcast after the deal closes, Khoury said.

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