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HP to acquire mobile-software firm

Bitfone, which makes software that helps companies keep tabs on wireless devices, has agreed to become part of Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard has acquired Bitfone, which makes management software for mobile devices, for an undisclosed amount, the companies announced Wednesday.

Bitfone makes software that helps businesses keep track of the growing number of handheld devices--like BlackBerrys, Treos or HP's iPaqs--that executives, salespeople and status-conscious office workers are increasingly using alongside their PCs. Administrators can use Bitfone's software to send firmware updates over the air to individual devices, for example, rather than having to track down all those users to install a new software update.

HP has made strengthening its software portfolio a priority since CEO Mark Hurd arrived in 2005, acquiring companies like Peregrine Systems and Mercury Interactive. Bitfone is a privately held company based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., in southern Orange County.

The deal is expected to close in February. Bitfone will be folded into HP's handheld group upon completion of the deal, HP said.