Uber is the latest company to throw its hat in the ring to buy Nokia’s mapping unit HERE. The NY Times reported that the ride-sharing service has submitted a $3 billion bid (unconfirmed) for the mapping provider.
If Uber succeeds it will be the second mapping acquisition made by the company. Earlier this year Uber bought independent mapping platform deCarta. Maps and routing are a key component of Uber’s business. Currently the company uses Google Maps. Presumably all that would change if Uber succeeds in buying HERE.
Uber is testing out other services beyond ride sharing, such as delivery services. Owning its own maps and routing algorithms would be both strategic and open up new opportunities for the company. HERE is one of only a few global mapping and navigation platforms. The others are Google Maps/Waze, Apple Maps, TomTom, Bing Maps and OpenStreetMaps.
There are also a number of other smaller or regional players. Among that group, a product/company I particularly like is EEGEO’s 3D maps (Recce).
Uber isn’t the only company interested in Nokia’s mapping business, which the latter declined to sell along with its devices unit to Microsoft. A consortium of German automakers including Daimler, BMW and Audi has also expressed interest. Other speculated, potential buyers include Amazon, Baidu, Sirius XM, private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and Facebook.
I say Facebook because it recently entered into a deal for HERE Maps on Instagram and FB Messenger. That makes the company a potential buyer too.
In 2007, then devices powerhouse Nokia paid more than $8 billion to buy Navteq, which became HERE. Nokia has now decided the mapping platform is inconsistent with its strategic direction and so is shedding the business.
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