In a move to further solidify its "AOL Anywhere" strategy, the
giant Internet service provider America Online today said it has acquired
Tegic Communications, a company specializing in text entry for wireless
The value of the deal was not disclosed. Tegic will continue to operate as
a separate business unit out of Seattle, AOL said in a statement.
Today's deal highlights AOL's push to move beyond personal computers and to
reach users through telephone and other portable devices, as well as
through television sets. Building its "AOL Anywhere" strategy, the
online giant has been forming alliances with satellite companies, mobile
telecommunications firms and makers of portable devices. The
company also has made significant investments in satellite television
firms to try to remain on top of the consumer Net access market.
Tegic's primary product, T9 Text Input software, allows individuals to access the Internet, send email and instant messages, and perform other text-based functions using the standard telephone keypad to enter words or entire sentences. The software allows users to press just one key per letter on the telephone dialing pad, and then the software determines the desired word based on the user's key presses and statistical frequency of
words in a given language.
Tegic said its software works in 14 languages, including Chinese, Japanese and the major Western European languages.
"Tegic's [software] makes it possible for consumers to easily and
take advantage of email and instant messaging on their wireless telephones," Barry
Schuler, president of AOL Interactive services, said in a statement. "We are
especially excited about the great potential to extend this capability, as
well as other text-based functions, to other wireless devices."
Dulles, Va.-based AOL said Tegic has licensed its T9
software to more than 20 wireless phone manufacturers that serve more than
90 percent of the world market, with at least 10 already shipping
T9-enabled phones. Licensees include Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Motorola
T9 software also operates on platforms such as personal digital
assistants and with MP3 technology, according to Tegic.