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The Globe and Mail

RIM buying Toronto firm, creator of popular app

Research In Motion Ltd. has acquired Toronto-based software developer Viigo, the creator of a popular mobile content reader, according to a post on Viigo's website.

The relatively small firm, estimated to have between 25 and 50 employees, makes a popular application for RIM's BlackBerry smart phone that aggregates various streams of information - such as news, politics, sports and weather - in an easy-to-read application.

"Our team has joined RIM's global organization and will continue to bring our expertise in BlackBerry application development and real-time content delivery to the BlackBerry platform," Viigo president and CEO Mark Ruddock said in a release posted on the company's website yesterday.

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No details of the acquisition were released. A spokeswoman for RIM said she had no details beyond the Viigo posting.

The move is likely one more step for RIM in a strategy to compete against Apple Inc. and its burgeoning community of app-makers, said Deepak Chopra, a technology analyst with Toronto's Genuity Capital Markets. He said RIM viewed Viigo, which he estimates has $10-million in annual revenue, as a strategic asset, especially given that Viigo may have been busy creating a similar app for Apple's iPhone.

Viigo is also moving aggressively into the enterprise solutions market, as well as into e-commerce, and these may fit well with the BlackBerry brand, Mr. Chopra suggested.

Viigo, which received some financing through the BlackBerry Partners Fund, is not the first strategic acquisition RIM has made to compete in the mobile "app ecosystem." In late 2008, the Canadian tech giant purchased Chalk Media Corp., which also makes mobile applications, in an all-cash deal worth more than $23-million.

"[RIM]viewed the Viigo application as strategic enough, both to the consumer and enterprise markets, that they wanted to buy it and integrate it more deeply," Mr. Chopra said.

Report on Business Company Snapshot is available for: RESEARCH IN MOTION LTD.

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