Nokia parks Dopplr travel network in neutral
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.
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.
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.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.