Nokia parks Dopplr travel network in neutral

Nokia has confirmed that the Dopplr travel social network it bought in September 2009 has effectively been put into live storage and there are no plans to do anything with it.

dopplr2

The news comes as those who watched the company’s extraordinary growth prior to being bought by Nokia become increasingly disturbed by a lack of activity on the site and the disappearance of CEO Marko Ahtisaari into the depths of the mobile giant as head of design.

But almost 2 months to the day from the acquisition (and after eight days of trying to tease a response from either Nokia or Dopplr), a Nokia official says:

“When it comes to the Dopplr service as such, we have decided to bring it into a maintenance mode, meaning that we keep the status quo but will not develop it further at this stage.”

The first sign that something was up came almost within days of the acqusition itself, with news that Ahtisaari was becoming senior vice president for design at Nokia. CTO Matt Biddulph evetually moved from Dopplr’s base in London to Berlin, Germany, also to work for Nokia.

Despite these apparent setbacks, many believed the popularity of Dopplr in the mainstream tech world (it was also one of the few travel startups to receive the gushing respect of the cliquey digital community in the so-called Hoxton Triangle) and under new ownership would see the business flourish.

Not so.

Many started commenting on the lack of communication from a company that was previously very engaged with its members, sending them monthly reports and regularly updating the corporate blog.

So when after six months or so the Tweets and blog posts had clearly dried up at around the time of the acquisition, alarm bells started ringing.

dopplr tweet

The final straw came when some noticed the popular Dopplr app had disappeared from the Apple iTunes appstore, although some presumed this was a result of a spat which first surfaced between Nokia and Apple in October 2009.

Nokia says the app was axed because of the decision to end development of the wider Dopplr service.

So perhaps there is still a chance that the concept of the social atlas (and how it might relate to travel) which Dopplr preached on plenty of occasions, will be taken on by Nokia, at least in terms of perhaps integrating into its Ovi mobile platform.

An official will not comment on whether elements of the Dopplr idea or its technology will morph into a new or existing Nokia service.

Indeed, Nokia says it is still deciding on when it will officially communicate to existing Dopplr users that the site is essentially now just a part of the early digital social travel jigsaw, circa 2008.

By amazing coincidence, just as Nokia confirmed the mothballing of Dopplr it was was also announcing the appointment of Microsoft business manager Stephen Elop as its new CEO.

NB: Jemima Kiss on the Guardian has good summary of the company’s history.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

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  1. Alistair

    I was disappointed when I heard the news that Nokia were buying Dopplr. I’d been using their fantastic site & service for quite a long time & when the acquisition was announced, it signaled the death of it in the medium term in my mind.

    I figured I’d give them a month or two of grace post acquisition to settle in and get the communication flowing again but when it didn’t resume, it just reaffirmed my initial thought.

    At this stage, I’m hoping they’ll sell Dopplr to someone that actually wants the service and not just a couple of their key staff members.

     
 
 

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