Photo: All Things D
Motorola Mobility, the soon-to-be independent company overseeing Motorola’s mobile devices and services, is making a big push into mobile media.This morning, it acquired Zecter, a startup that helps users store audio and video files online and stream them to mobile devices. The move suggests that the newly confident Motorola is losing patience with Google, which is working on a similar service for Android devices.
Motorola and Google have clashed in the past. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this year, Google pressured Motorola to cancel a deal to use startup Skyhook’s location-based services on mobile phones.
The acquired company, Zecter, operates two services: ZumoDrive is a fairly simple online backup service like Box.net, Dropbox, and countless others, although it’s focused on digital media–audio, video, and pictures. The other service, ZumoCast, was more unique: it let users stream audio and video files from their computer over the Internet to their iPhone, iPad, or Web browser. Motorola has suspended ZumoCast in order to “enhance” it–presumably to add Android support.
According to Zecter CEO David Zhou, Motorola “felt strongly” that the Zumo products would help differentiate it from other Android providers.
Both Apple and Google have made similar acquisitions in the last year. In late 2009 Apple bought Lala, which operated a music locker service similar to ZumoDrive (but strictly focused on music), and a few months later Google acquired Simplify Media, which had a product almost identical to ZumoCast. But neither company has done much with their purchases: Apple shut down Lala and has had trouble convincing the major record labels let it open an online music-streaming service, and Google’s music initiative has been hampered by internal politics.
Other companies are also getting into the game: RealNetworks recently announced plans for a similar service called Unifi.
Motorola will continue to operate both ZumoDrive and eventually incorporate Zecter’s technology into its MOTOBLUR service. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Zecter has only 13 employees and has been in business since 2007, with funding from Apollo Management and Tandem Entrepreneurs.
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