Research In Motion Acquires Professional Contact Manager Gist

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We heard the rumors that Research In Motion (RIM) was involved in serious talks to buy professional contact manager Gist, and today it’s official. RIM has bought Gist, we’ve confirmed with the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Here’s a statement from Gist: Today, we are announcing that Gist has become part of Research In Motion (RIM). We are extremely excited about our future at RIM and how Gist will be used by millions of BlackBerry users around the globe. This is a huge step towards our goal of utilizing the web-based Gist experience to allow users to build stronger professional relationships. Stay tuned for more details and thank you all for the support and encouragement that has gotten us to this next great phase at Gist. RIM also confirmed the acquisition on its BlackBerry blog.

Gist, which raised $10.8 million in funding, launched in 2008 as a “professional” communications manager, aimed at satisfying the filtering needs of a business user. Like the web service, the app organizes your streams according to your email contacts so it’s a useful way of following your colleagues, friends and professional contacts.

The Seattle-based Gist offers services that help you keep tabs on the people in your professional network, and allows you to see past messages and attachments from each contact, news about their company, and their recent messages on services like Twitter. The company also offers a number of mobile apps, and it appears that RIM will be using the technology for BlackBerry users.

Gist was founded by T.A. McCann, an entrepreneur and former senior employee in Microsoft’s Exchange Server Group and was initially funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. Last year, Gist acquired Learn That Name, a game that uses your LinkedIn contacts to help you remember the names of your business acquaintances and also launched a gadget for Gmail.

As Om Malik wrote this past December, it makes sense for RIM to use Gist to incorporate more social elements into BlackBerry phone books and to email as well. Gist says that users can continue to use its platform but it will be interesting to see if RIM will shut the service down in favor of using it exclusively for BlackBerry users. I can imagine that a number of Gist users will be pretty disappointed if this is the case.

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