Nokia Here said to be snatched up by Audi, BMW and Daimler for US$2.7B

The company's digital mapping technology is considered a critical element of self-driving cars

Nokia Here digital mapping technology.

Nokia Here digital mapping technology.

Audi, BMW and Daimler will jointly purchase Nokia's Here digital mapping service for roughly $2.7 billion, and they plan to invite other auto makers to take a stake in the company as well, according to reports published on Tuesday.

The deal could be signed in the next few days, with an announcement targeted for next week, according to separate reports in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and German publication Manager Magazin. All reports were based on anonymous sources familiar with the deal.

Uber reportedly dropped out of the bidding processes several weeks ago.

Neither Nokia nor Audi responded to a request to comment for this story. BMW and Daimler declined to comment.

Here builds high-definition maps and combines them with cloud technology for access via a broad range of connected devices, including self-driving cars. On Monday, Here announced that it is making data on sections of public roads in four countries available to all automotive companies for automated vehicle tests.

Reportedly, Nokia had been hoping to receive as much as $4 billion for its Here technology.

"Nokia has got to be disappointed" by the purchase price relative to both the $4 billion it hoped to get and the roughly $8 billion it paid for Navteq back in 2007, said Greg Sterling, vice president for strategy and insights with the Local Search Association.

Navteq was integrated into Nokia Location & Commerce, which later became Here.

Still, the sale completes the company's shift into wireless equipment manufacturing, Sterling noted.

The German group's acquisition of Here is at least partially a defensive move, he added.

"They were all users of the product and see maps and navigation as a critical component of the self-driving car future," Sterling explained. "Had Here gone to a U.S. or Chinese company, it's not clear they would have continued to have the same level of service or access."

What remains to be seen is how much the companies continue to invest in and develop the platform and underlying data. Digital mapping is not a "set it and forget it" marketplace, but instead requires constant investment and attention to remain competitive, according to Sterling.

Also awaiting the test of time is the question of how well the auto makers can make a joint ownership work.

"At the end of the day, they're still competing with each other," noted Ramon Llamas, a research manager with IDC.

Each company will have to decide how to differentiate its own products on top of the jointly owned technology, for instance, and whether or not to license its developments back to its partners, Llamas pointed out: "It can get very messy."

The fact that the German car companies chose to buy Nokia's technology outright rather than license from competitors such as TomTom, Magellan or Google suggests that current licensing arrangements with those alternatives might be even more expensive, Llamas said.

Still, "$2.7 billion and you're lying in bed with some of your closest competitors?" he said. "There could be some challenges down the line."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesDaimlerapplicationsMapsNokiasoftwaremobilebmwmobile applications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?