Synchronoss' FusionOne buy puts spotlight on mobile sync

The acquisition could be worth more than $75 million

Synchronoss plans to buy FusionOne in a deal that could allow phone users to sign up for a new phone and transfer data from their old phones at the same time.

Synchronoss will pay US$40 million up front for FusionOne and will pay an additional $35 million if FusionOne achieves certain performance targets through 2011, Synchronoss said. It did not say what those targets are.

Operators and retailers use Synchronoss' software for subscriber activation, order management and service provisioning. FusionOne offers mobile content backup services that can be used by 600 phone models and are offered through Verizon, AT&T, Cellular South, CenturyLink and Bell Mobility.

The most simple FusionOne service, which is often re-branded by the operators, stores a user's address book so it can be transferred to a new phone. FusionOne also offers operators services that back up photos and other content that people collect on their phones.

In a statement, FusionOne's CEO said his customers say they want mobile content transfer and synchronization integrated into the activation process. That would allow phone users to buy a new device and have it activated and synched with their old device at the time of purchase.

As part of the acquisition, Synchronoss will get more than 40 issued and pending patents related to mobile content transfer and synchronization, the company said. It expects the deal to close this month.

As smartphone users do more with their phones, including take videos and photos, they are increasingly interested in backing up that content. Many different companies in the mobile market are experimenting with the best way to offer backup services. For example, Apple offers MobileMe, a service that synchs e-mail, contacts and calendar across a user's iPhone and Mac.

Microsoft recently began offering a service called Kin Studio along with its Kin phones that lets users back up all content from their phones online, where they can view it all on a timeline. The future of Kin Studio is unclear now that Microsoft has discontinued the Kin handsets.

Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesmergers & acquisitionstelecommunicationSynchronossinternetFusionOnemobile

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

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