Skyhook and Symantec Team Up on Anti-Theft Service for Devices

11/29/11Follow @gthuang

Anti-theft technology for mobile devices just got smarter. Boston-based Skyhook Wireless announced today that its location-finding software has been deployed by Mountain View, CA-based Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) in its new Norton Anti-Theft Web service. Financial details weren’t given, but the arrangement will put Skyhook’s software on more devices over a broader range of applications—namely, security.

The anti-theft Web service enables people to lock, locate, and, if all goes well, recover a lost or stolen laptop (Windows-based), smartphone (Android), or tablet (Android)—all from afar. Skyhook’s technology, which uses Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS signals to locate a given device, is already used by tens of millions of devices and applications, the company says.

Skyhook has been embroiled in two lawsuits against Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) since last year. The suits allege that the search giant infringed on four of Skyhook’s patents and interfered with deals that Skyhook made with Motorola and Samsung. Those deals involved putting Skyhook’s location-finding software on Android devices.

Symantec’s deployment of Skyhook’s software is the latest example of how Skyhook has managed to maneuver its technology onto Android devices despite its feud with Google, which, like Apple, wants to own location technology for its devices itself.

Back in May, Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan talked about his company’s technology being deployed by MapQuest, Citysearch, Priceline, and other Web applications on Android (and other) devices. “We’ll get on every Android device, but it will be through the apps instead of device makers,” he said.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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