Ever since it announced that it had entered into an agreement with rival Alcatel-Lucent to buy it for $16.6 billion, Nokia has been on the lookout for a buyer of its mapping arm, HERE. The list of suitors over the last few months has been quite long. From technology giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung, Alibaba, Yahoo and Uber to car-makers like BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Fiat and others. While Uber had already bid $3 billion for Nokia’s mapping service, it looks like the bid did not go through and Nokia will be going with three German car-makers.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s sources, Audi, BMW and Daimler are close to agreeing a $2.7 billion deal with Nokia for the mapping service. The deal is expected to be finalized “in the next few days.”
The car-makers’ purchase is important because should HERE have fallen in the hands of say Uber or Facebook, they would not be in a position to control end to end the mapping experience on their products (cars) and would have meant reliance on yet another technology company. With plans to introduce the first commercial self-driving cars by the year 2020 underway, a solid mapping product is important.
According to the WSJ, the three car-makers are expected to invite others like Fiat, Renault, Toyota, General Motors and others to invest in the venture if the deal pulls through.
We are not sure at this point where that leaves the mobile application but we don’t expect it to be discontinued as smartphones are front and centre and a key part of the car experience today.