Friday Sales: Nokia Buys MetaCarta, RIM Buys QNX

Mobile phone makers Nokia and Research in Motion have each announced a brand new acquisition: Nokia will be acquiring the Massachusetts-based MetaCarta in a bid to boost its location-based services, while RIM will be acquiring QNX Software from Harman International so it can let BlackBerries hook up more smoothly with in-car audio systems.

Neither company disclosed the financial details of either acquisition.

MetaCarta is a privately held company with about 30 employees that focuses on geographic intelligence solutions: essentially, plotting information on maps, whether that be fixed locations like retail stores, GPS information posted alongside social networking updates, geotags on images, or any other form of data with geographic links. MetaCarta is perhaps best known for working with a wide variety of mapping services. Nokia’s Ovi services already offers a mapping service; Nokia is doubtless looking to amp up its capabilities using technology and savvy from MetaCarta.

In the meantime, RIM wants to do a good job putting BlackBerries into people’s cars—and have them hook up with in-vehicle “infotainment” systems. RIM apparently views its acquisition of QNX Software as a step in a long-term collaboration with Harman to let its smartphones be the brains behind in-vehicle, Internet-savvy systems. But RIM also seems to have other ambitions for the deal. According to RIM co-CEO and President Mike Lazaridis: “We believe the planned acquisition of QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms of supporting certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals.” RIM expects the deal to close in 30 to 45 days.

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