Nov 13 2008
Big news for Naspers from Germany and the Netherlands is that Nimbuzz, the Naspers-financed (or co-financed) mobile VOIP and IM provider, has concluded a revenue-sharing deal with Germany’s biggest (and very dynamic) social network StudiVZ.
StudiVZ is owned by media house Georg von Holtzbrinck and Germany’s most innovative internet player. StudiVZ is a network for students. Von Holtzbrinck also owns two more networks, namely SchülerVZ (for scholars) and MeinVZ (for friends starting out their working careers).
Together these three networks have 10 million registered users (the whole SA internet population is estimated at only 3 million!). And together they are much bigger in Germany than MySpace, Facebook, or any of the other big social network.
In short, Nimbuzz** made a deal with the leader of the pack. And the rest is sure to follow StudiVZ’s example soon.
(And when will Naspers’ Blueworld follow suit?)
Also good to know in this context, is that Facebook sued StudiVZ in July, saying it must change its portal because it’s a rip-off of Facebook. Von Holtzbrinck denied the allegations and started a legal fight in the US. In the first week of November, a US court said the two parties have agreed to a dispute resolution outside the court – with a deadline in October 2009! That gives StudiVZ another whole year to build on its lead in Germany. So, it must be seen as a first-round win for StudiVZ against the big-boy Facebook.
Also interesting to know, is that the German media house Von Holtzbrinck (with its head office 100 meters from my front door here in Stuttgart) was one of the partners Naspers had in Mobile 3.0, the project to bring mobile TV to Germany, and which failed miserably, ending in the handback of the license to the German authorities. It’s not known how much money was burnt there – probably not much. The project was killed off after just a few months.
I should also just mention that Nimbuzz was the developer behind Skype. That’s why the Nimbuzz app. looks so much like your Skype front-end. All in all, very exciting news for Naspers and its aspirations to become an international web player of standing.
Finally, I’d just like to mention that I first suggested on 20 September that a Nimbuzz/StudiVZ deal might be on the cards. Look here.
** About Nimbuzz:
Download it for free on your cell phone – it lets you call, chat, message, and send files on the go. For free. And combines all your buddies from Skype, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM, Google Talk and others. One login, one contact list, all accounts.
Also, Nimbuzz uses the internet to let you make free international calls to your buddies. You can also register your VoIP account to call your friends on landlines and mobile phones.