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2 Straight Out of 10 for Seven

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 7:21am
Monica Alleven

Seven Networks is ready to ring in the New Year after apparently accomplishing much that it set out to do in 2010. The company today announced it will record its second straight profitable year as it added to its user base, brought on new carrier customers and established some new distribution channels that got it into countries it otherwise would have had a hard time reaching.

The privately held company, founded in 2000, doesn't release financials, but it says it grew its user base by 1 million accounts, totaling 8 million actively synchronized accounts during the year.

Growth came from both existing customers and expansion into new carrier customers, according to Isabelle Dumont, senior director of marketing. The company has seen success with prepaid carriers like MetroPCS Communications and Boost Mobile, as well as with new devices on BREW and Android.

The company kicked off 2010 with the general availability of Ping, a set of packaged services for mobile operators and device manufacturers to "push enable" messaging, social networking and mobile apps on smartphones and mass market devices.

It helped Seven that it struck a deal with Samsung early in the year that involved powering the Samsung Social Hub, the manufacturer's social networking platform with integrated messaging applications. Samsung's first bada device, the Wave, which was introduced with a big splash at this year's Mobile World Congress, included Seven technology.

The relationship with Samsung has given the company an expanded distribution channel into more than 15 countries, the majority of which Seven probably would not have gotten into otherwise, says Seven COO David Ratner. Seven is live with Samsung on both bada, Samsung's homegrown OS, and Android devices. Samsung has said sales of bada handsets are expected to reach 5 million units worldwide before the end of 2010.

As for 2011, Seven executives say they can't get into specifics, but they expect to explore what they can add to tablets and other devices and will continue working with Samsung on ways to collaborate.

The way Seven works, it's not constantly pinging the back end to get updates, such as from Twitter or Facebook, to the mobile device. That drains battery life and is inefficient on the network side. Rather, the Seven server in the cloud only notifies the client when there's an update, thereby conserving battery and network resources.

Seven employs about 265 employees, not counting contractors. To support its business growth, the Redwood City, Calif., company this year hired Michael Luna as chief technology officer to drive the new product direction and Tamara Steffens came on board as executive vice president of worldwide field operations to expand customer relationships.

The company also opened a new 50-person research and development facility in Estonia to expand its research team and a new green data center in the Bay Area to expand its capacity to meet the needs of future service growth.

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