AOL Expands Wireless Offerings With Wildseed Acquisition
In an initiative to integrate AOL services into mobile phones and wireless devices, Time Warner’s AOL has acquired the privately held wireless technology company Wildseed Ltd. Wildseed Ltd. was founded by G. Eric Engstrom, who co-invented Microsoft’s DirectX multimedia and games technology.
AOL’s goal to expand its messaging offering and AOL.com free content channels beyond the traditional Internet and home computers is driving a change of direction in the company. Currently, AOL’s Instant Messenger is available on cell phones and wireless devices. However, the acquisition of Wildseed may be centered around the production of teen theme targeted AOL “smart phones.”
Wildseed’s core product is a cellular phone marketed to teens, which let them snap on custom changeable faceplates which deliver themed content to the teen user. For example, a football phone would focus on NFL scores and player info while a Hello Kitty phone would serve Kitty comics and songs.
“Data-related mobile technologies are on the cusp of mainstream adoption. We see it everyday in the explosive growth of our mobile AIM traffic. The wireless industry is focused on bringing additional rich media experiences and a new generation of interactive services to the mobile consumer, and we are committed to being a leader in that arena,” said John McKinley, Chief Technology Officer and President, Digital Services, America Online, Inc. “With the combination of Tegic and Wildseed, we can
offer our carrier and OEM partners the best-in-class platform they need to deliver these rich and engaging mobile experiences and help drive innovation and growth in the industry.”