AOL Buys Wildseed For Wireless

America Online purchased wireless technology firm
Wildseed as part of its effort to expand its services to mobile
phones and other wireless devices, the company said Monday.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based Wildseed, best known for the
SmartSkin interactive accessories that ran on the Curitel Identity handset, was founded by Microsoft alum Eric Engstrom.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It is the second acquisition in the past two weeks for the world’s
largest Internet provider, which is snapping up services in preparation for
the upcoming launch of My AOL.

Last week, AOL purchased online storage company Xdrive.

“Data-related mobile technologies are on the cusp of mainstream
adoption,” John McKinley, president and CTO of digital
services at AOL, said in a statement. “We see it every day in the explosive
growth of our mobile AIM traffic. The wireless industry is focused on
bringing additional rich media experiences and a new generation of
interactive services to the mobile consumer, and we are committed to being a
leader in that arena.”

Wildseed’s technologies include a mobile Linux-based operating system,
which provides support for Game Boy Advanced games, MP3 and video
playback, remote device management, and a fully ‘skinnable’ user interface
for delivering both branded and themed user experiences, according to AOL.

“With the combination of Tegic and
Wildseed, we can offer our carrier and OEM partners the best-in-class
platform they need to deliver these rich and engaging mobile experiences and
help drive innovation and growth in the industry,” McKinley said.

Many of the components that form Wildseed’s mobile Linux solution can
also be sold separately to non-Linux-based feature phones, McKinley said.

The expanded AOL Wireless division, which now includes AOL Mobile, Tegic
and Wildseed, is expected to increase the delivery of services to mobile
users with various software solutions, communications and content services
supported by the top wireless carriers and handset manufacturers, the
company said.

“Wildseed’s advanced technologies will help AOL enhance the value of its
wireless properties and speed the development and deployment of new
applications and solutions that address the wants and needs of consumers and
carriers,” Wildseed founder Craig Eisler said.

Wildseed employees and operations will be integrated into AOL’s
Seattle offices and Engstrom will become AOL Wireless’
senior vice president of wireless products, according to AOL.

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