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funambolIn hopes of creating a new kind of mobile business, Funambol is announcing today that it has acquired Zapatec, a maker of web-based application technology. The combined companies hope to launch what they call a new generation of “sync and push” apps for mobile devices.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Funambol is a player in open source software that synchronizes email messages between computers and mobile devices.

zapatecThe hope is to make life easier on developers who face a fragmented market of too many mobile devices — each of them requiring separate software engineering in order to run a new app. The companies will combine Funambol’s open source mobile sync and push server with Zapatec’s technology for building rich mobile apps. With these tools, developers can build software that should be able to run on multiple mobile platforms. These apps will have modern features such as automatic sync and push notifications (or updates that tell you about something new).

If the companies succeed, they can create tools that let developers create apps that run on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BREW, Java ME, mobile Linux and other platforms. Beyond that, the apps could run on wireless devices such as eBook readers, wireless digital cameras and printers, netbooks and appliances. Right now, it’s very hard to do this.

As part of the acquisition, Dror Matalon, Zapatec’s chief executive, is joining Funambol as vice president of emerging technology. Funambol’s software has been downloaded over 3 million times by 50,000 developers. The company’s commercial software is being used by companies such as AOL and Earthlink.

Funambol, founded in 2002, has 75 employees. It competes with Synchronica and FusionOne. Funambol has raised $25 million from Walden International, HIG Ventures, Nexit Ventures, and Castile Ventures. The company said that sales in the third quarter doubled compared to the second quarter of 2009, while downloads grew by 50 percent.

Zapatec was also founded in 2002 and has 10 employees. The company competes with proprietary vendors of AJAX tools. Zapatec is self-funded. Its customers include Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Toyota, Oracle and others.

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