Vodafone Wants Swedish Navigation Software

Mobile phone vendors aren't the only ones interested in navigation -- Vodafone has offered 239 million Swedish kronor (US$29.4 million) for Wayfinder, which develops software for mobile navigation, it said on Tuesday.

Wayfinder's board has recommended that shareholders accept the offer, and shareholders holding approximately 44.9 percent of the total share capital and voting rights have done so, according to Vodafone.

Buying Wayfinder will open the door for Vodafone to develop a suite of new location-aware products and services, which will deliver a more personalized mobile Internet experience using location, if users want to disclose where they are, said Pieter Knook, Internet services director at Vodafone. Knook also hailed the user-friendliness of such products and services and support for voice directions on mobile.

The Swedish company's current portfolio includes Wayfinder Active, a tailor-made application for people when they are out running, hiking or skiing.

The application will, for example, tell users how far they have been running, their average speed and how many calories they have burned. Afterward, an e-mail is sent to the user with the statistics and a map displaying the route run, according to Wayfinder.

Wayfinder Active also comes with a Web community. Here users can monitor their progress, blog and share their favorite routes with others.

This isn't the first time Vodafone has acquired a Nordic technology company this year. In May it announced plans to buy ZYB, a Danish social-networking company. Both deals highlight the current industry wide interest in both navigation and social networking.

Details on when the deal is expected to close were not available.

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