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Why do carmakers want a slice of Nokia's maps?

Margi Murphy | July 24, 2015
Techworld asks why a group of rival carmakers are planning to hand over at least 2.5 billion euro for Nokia's online maps.

Why not develop your own maps?

As an alternative to Google and Apple's maps, the purchase offers the consortium an opportunity to take ownership of a ready-made product and offer it to other carmakers who could buy a share in the business.

It would be impossible for carmakers to invest in research and development for its own maps in time to compete with rivals Google and Apple. It took Google years to gather enough data to make Google Maps useful, particularly through its Street View feature. With Apple-leased cars spotted driving around with cameras attached, it was rumoured the firm was working on a similar outlay for its mapping feature, but this is unlikely to be available for a long time. Apple originally offered Google Maps for its own mapping software on iOS device and was the default app for iPhones until 2012.

Ownership over the patented technology that allows cars to "talk" to mobile networks is still on the table, delaying the deal, Reuters claimed yesterday.

This early contention over intellectual property rights spells problems ahead, bearing in mind that the maps will need constant development to stay current and to differentiate between brands.

Ten million new cars were sold with Here maps onboard in 2013, Nokia claims. It offers maps for 196 countries, voice guided navigation in 97 countries and live traffic information for 41 countries.


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