Nokia Grabs Social Networker Plum

Nokia boosts its social networking capabilities by plucking U.S. startup Plum.
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ESPOO, Finland (

TheStreet

) -- Phone giant

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

has acquired Web startup

Plum

in an attempt to boost its social networking story.

The

All Things Digital

Web site reported that a deal was imminent early Friday, and Nokia later confirmed the acquisition in a statement released on its own Web site. The deal's value, however, was not disclosed.

Plum, which is backed by

Vulcan Capital

and

Levensohn Venture Partners

, touts technology for creating social networking groups on the Internet, and counts travel search engine

Mobissimo

and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among its early adopters.

With offices in San Francisco and Cambridge, Mass., Plum is seen as an expert in "microsocial networking," which involves small, more intimate groups of Internet users.

In its statement, Nokia explained that Plum will complement the Finnish firm's Social Location services, which let users create location-based Web content. "Plum-powered groups are ideally suited for families, co-workers, neighborhoods, sports, schools, faith and any other existing social group," it said.

The move could be a shrewd one for the phone manufacturer. Nokia, which faces stiff competition from

smartphone giants

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Research In Motion (RIM)

(RIMM)

, was

downgraded

Friday by Robert Baird, which warned that it could lose cell-phone market share to its rivals.

Nokia also has a fight on its hands with cell-phone makers

LG Electronics

(LGE)

and

Samsung

, according to the analyst firm.

Shares of Nokia slipped 14 cents, or 0.92%, to $15.03 in early trading Friday, mirroring the broader dip in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq fall 0.11%.