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Communications Software

Nokia Buys Navteq for $8.1 Billion 77

mytrip writes to mention that Nokia has agreed to buy Navteq, Chicago-based maker of digital mapping and navigational software, for $8.1 billion. "Nokia's president and chief executive, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, said that location-based services were a cornerstone of Nokia's Internet services strategy, which is part of an overall plan to expand beyond the production of cellphones into user services like photos, video, music and games."
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Nokia Buys Navteq for $8.1 Billion

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  • I know Google Maps (and I believe others) use data provided by Navteq (so the bottom of the maps say). I wonder if this purchase will affect them in any way?
    • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:25PM (#20815529)
      No. But it may make a future acquisition by Google more attractive.

      • A future acquisition of whom?
      • Google couldn't afford Nokia if they wanted them.
        • It's called "borrowing" and I think google could take out a loan that would boggle the mind. If they wanted Nokia, they could have them.
          • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @12:45AM (#20819641) Journal
            Highly doubtful. Check out Nokia's stock ticker ... just the value of Nokia's stock is 98% of Google's stock, not to mention Nokia holds a lot more **physical** assets than Google. Similar cash-at-hand, much more revenue per year. If Google would want to make a purchase of Nokia (Nokia being a healthy company), they would have to up the ante and offer the stockholders **more** than the company is worth. Sure, they can take out a loan, but they would essentially run the company dry. The interest on a few hundred billion dollars (Nokia's stock alone is worth 120B, Google's cash-at-hand is less than a tenth of that) a year would be billions of dollars a year. Google can't afford that. To put it another way, their revenue last year was 13B. The interest on a loan for Nokia would probably run a third to half that.
          • Google's market capitalisation is $180B, while Nokia's is $150B. A straight acquisition is out of the question, even leveraged with excessive borrowing. A merger might be possible, but I doubt Google's corporate culture would survive that.
      • by 2ms ( 232331 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:54PM (#20815941)
        Google acquiring Nokia? That's a laughable notion at best. Nokia is the largest wireless network hardware and phone company in the world. Some would say they're sitting on top of the biggest goldmine there is in tech or least consumer electronics. And they only seem to big extending the gap with their competitors more and more (look at Motorola's last quarter vs Nokia's). For Americans here who don't know, by the way, Nokia is far and away the largest builder of the networks wireless services are provided by -- phones are only the smaller part of their business, yet they are the largest phone maker in the world too.
        • Everybody is for sale. Just name the price.
        • Nokia is the largest wireless network hardware and phone company in the world.

          I guess you were not paying attention when Nokia spun off its network infrastructure operation earlier this year. Together with Siemens Networks, they formed Nokia Siemens Networks - a company that sucks in so many ways, not being profitable is just one of the symptoms of how badly it does. So many people left it in the last few months, I bet it's broken all records in attrition level.
        • That's all as maybe. They still make the crappiest hardware firewalls known to man....
        • Google's market cap is larger than Nokia's by about $34B. GOOG has 3.5B in the bank, and 7.7B in "short-term" investments. That's not enough to purchase a lot of Nokia outright, but they are peers in the marketplace.

          A cash and stock swap could get Google a controlling interest in Nokia overnight. Then Google gets maps for free, and placement of their services on every Nokia handheld.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          I don't know how long Nokia's phone dominance will last. They're licensing fees aren't exactly cheap when you're talking about millions of units and I think the LiMo project [] is going to kill them assuming it progresses as planned. A standardized, robust, featureful, and cheap mobile Linux OS will eat up even more of Nokia's share. They seem to be taking the brunt of the blow from Linux encroachment into the mobile phone market (no clue why that is).
          • by 2ms ( 232331 )
            I don't understand your reasoning. You seem to think that Nokia couldn't just use Linux itself the second that was the more advantageous option. Right now all the other companies are using linux because they have nothing else, basically. It's not as if it is hard to adopt linux.

            Hell, if there's a mobile handset maker that's gotta know and understand linux better than Nokia it'd sure be surprising -- they're both from the same little (amazing) country with the lowest population density in the world. Linu
            • They've got a heavy investment in Symbian OSs. I think they control S60 and they used to invest heavily in UIQ util Sony bought it. It's one thing when a phone manufacturer simply licenses, it's another when they have that almost paternal investor relationship. Another funny thing is the way that the unnaturally close relationship between the two has actually hurt business. Players have shied away from Symbian since it's seen as Nokia's baby.
              • by 2ms ( 232331 )
                I know they've been primary developer of Symbian OS. It's not as if, though, in the case that no one else used Symbian then Nokia would be screwed and lose their "dominance as a phone company" -- it's a tiny part of their income -- they're a phone and networking hardware company above all, not a software company.
          • by rdnk ( 734073 )
            Just for the record, Nokia is already using linux as an OS in their Internet Tablets. They are researching into open source software, but I doubt many non-techies are that interested about what OS their phone runs. If using Linux in a handheld means being able or having to tinker and tweak the OS, I think it would scare the most users away anyway.
        • by maxume ( 22995 )
          Google might not be able to buy them outright, but the finances aren't the reason they would never agree to a merger of not quite equals(with Nokia being a bigger 'real' company, but Google being quite a lot hotter with the money types), the huge differences in their businesses and lack of any, uh, synergies are the bigger problems. Not to mention that fast growing Nokia looks like a slug compared to Google. Nokia also works way harder for their revenues. Way harder.
        • by nyback ( 1069452 )
          Its true Nokia is the worlds biggest mobile handset maker in the world. But they are not as big on the platforms behind it, mobile networks and telephone networks. Ericsson rules on that part.
        • by tsa ( 15680 )
          And you know what the best thing is? They are not tied to providers like Apple is. That means they can make phones that do the things they want, not the things the provider wants.
    • by Jivecat ( 836356 )
      It might. Garmin also uses Navteq maps in its GPS devices -- in fact Navteq is Garmin's most important supplier -- and Garmin's stock price went into the dumper today on the NYSE because of fear that Garmin will have less influence, both in pricing and features, on Navteq when it's owned by Nokia.
      • It really wouldn't be wise of Navteq to start leaning on its customers like Garmin and Google. You know Google are just looking for an excuse to launch their own information-collecting satellite! Google wants to know what's in your yard as well as what's on your hard drive - they want to know everything! But seriously, I think that mapping services will get more competition with time. Sure Navteq has some inertia, but if Google or Gramin switched to a different data provider, people would barely notice. As
        • Actually, Google wouldn't even need a satellite. A lot of imagery (the low-altitude stuff at least) can be obtained using data acquisition payloads on planes.
          • Is that cheaper? I mean, planes are a lot cheaper than satellites to launch, but you need a lot more planes...

            Either way, it's the high-resolution images that need updating the most often; the shape of continents doesn't change for millennia, the shape of cities doesn't change for years, but the shape of neighbourhoods can change quite quickly.

            • I didn't run the numbers, but when you take into account how much a satellite costs, it very well may be financially viable to use planes for a lot of low altitude grunt work. Also, I would assume you would use a fuel-sipping aircraft like a Diamond Star (about 12 gallons per hour if I recall correctly, and it burns diesel fuel not Avgas or Jet-A). No need for a Gulfstream to do this kind of work, putting all that time on a turbine that is way overpowered for the task.
  • Internet tablets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cerberus4696 ( 765520 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:15PM (#20815423)
    This raises some interesting possibilities for where nokia's going with the next installment in their line of internet tablets (the Nokia 770/800/rumored successor to both). Navteq's software already runs on the platform, so it may be that nokia's thinking of integrating it more fully into their internet tablets (the next one is rumored to have built-in GPS).
    • by jubei ( 89485 )
      The N95 already has GPS & navigation built in. It requires a subscription for turn by turn voice prompts, though, which is extremely annoying.

      So I think that the N800 successor probably would have had integrated mapping with or without the acquisition.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by costas ( 38724 )
        I have an N95 and just used it recently to live in a strange city for two days. Yes, it's a killer app; having the navigation device on you (instead of the car) means you can make impromptu plans work ("I'd like a coffee; wonder where the nearest cafe is; oh, 5 mins away, no prob"). Having Google on the same device just plain rocks.

        Now, it's not perfect: GPS drains the battery down something fierce (which is not great to begin with) and Nokia could have done a better job interfacing GPS to the rest of the
        • Nokia could have done a better job interfacing GPS to the rest of the phone
          This is pretty standard for Nokia devices. I own a few, and whenever I use them I always get the impression that their HCI people speak Swedish and their engineers speak English (or possibly the other way around). The engineers get a detailed user interface specification in a language they don't understand, and just make guesses based on the pictures.
          • Nokia's Finnish not Swedish, but I agree that their HIG could benefit from some usability research (especially the Symbian phones that I always found cumbersome and I'm a geek who's been working in the phone industry for years).
  • but what's the deal with a broken link back to slashdot? For once in a long time, I wanted to read the actual article, and this is what i get :(
  • Killer App (Score:4, Interesting)

    by microbee ( 682094 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:31PM (#20815625)
    I have a Nokia 6682. I bought a bluetooth GPS receiver for $60 and downloaded Route 66 (for "free") on it and it has been a fantastic GPS device for me. I would never drive without such a phone anymore. I actually like it more than any dedicated GPS device which for a decent one could easily take $500 as mounting a normal GPS would be a pain (and too easy to attract thieves to break your window and take it). With a cell phone based GPS, it's easily attached to the vent (holder included with the receiver), and really portable.

    If Nokia provides gps software out of the box, it definitely will be the biggest factor for my purchase decision.
    • by 3waygeek ( 58990 )
      Route 66 is one of the nicer nav programs out there -- I've used it with my HTC Wizard & Kaiser phones. In fact, I just received a 6GB micro SDHC chip, which should hold all the maps for North America (the 4GB is about 200 MB too small, IIRC). With the Wizard, I used a SirfIII-based BT GPS -- the Kaiser has a GPS receiver built-in.

      BTW, Route 66 uses Navteq maps, at least in North America.
    • You can get good dedicated navigators for around $200 these days, and mounting them is a simple as pulling a lever on the suction cup that goes on the windscreen.
      I've never used Phone based navigators, probably mainly because I don't like the pricing schemes, when you can get the whole deal relatively cheaply.
    • by Rovaani ( 20023 )
      Nokia Maps []. Free but the routing and guiding functions have a subscription fee. Still, it can be a pretty good deal if you only need the routing stuff every once in a while. Maps are free and can be either downloaded beforehand or streamed to the phone while on the road.
    • My Blackberry runs Google Map ( Coupled with GPS, this fills my need. If my handphone can install Google Maps, what's the value add for NavteqonNokia ?

      Ofcourse Navteq might be offering the data to Google, so Nokia might want to bypass that Google connection. But honestly, Google Map is a killer application in itself - the data offerred by Navteq hold no value if the application sucks.
      • by alexo ( 9335 )
        Does GMM require an Internet connection?
        Data plans here in Canada are nothing to write home about...
  • Here's the official press release []. There's additional articles on Bloomberg [] and TradingMarkets [].

    This news was predicted after TomTom bought Tele Atlas [] last July, NAVTEQ's main competitor.
  • Nokia has a bad habit of purchasing companies that develop software and products for their competitors and then killing said products.

    For example, a few years ago they bought out a PalmOs developer (who at the time made NOTHING for Nokia phones) and then killed off all of that developer's product lines. (If I recall correctly, it was one of the developers of instant messaging applications.) I don't remember the name of the developer off of the top of my head.

    Now, I don't foresee Nokia killing off Navteq p
    • Verichat [] by a company called "intellisync". The only instant messenger program that ever worked worth a damn on my Treo 650. I have seriously thought about switching devices now that verichat does not work anymore (they killed the app completly even for people who purchased it previously).

      Honestly I don't see it as a nokia problem, but a WTF is the problem that nobody else can make an instant messenger that actually WORKS.

      I know I know I should write it myself, but I have a million excuses.

      for now I
    • We all like to bitch about OOXML, saying why do we need a second standard when ODF is already a standard, but what is up with IM standards?

      Discounting the legacy proprietary networks, we have XMPP, which is an IETF standard for messaging and presence implemented by a lot of open source projects, Apple and Google. Then we have SIMPLE, which is an IETF standard, which extends SIP to provide messaging and presence services. Finally, it turns out the IM icon on my Nokia phone is an IMPS client. IMPS is an I

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )
        I don't know about IMPS, but in the case of XMPP vs. SIMPLE:

        XMPP started out oriented towards instant messaging and presence, voice signaling (Jingle) was added later

        SIP started out oriented towards voice signaling (actually session initiation for voice and video), messaging and presence were added later with SIMPLE.

        Essentially what started out as standards covering two distinct arenas were extended to accomodate a desire for convergence/integration, with the end being that there is now significant overlap
        • Right. I was involved with the XMPP process, and I can see the point of SIMPLE; there are a lot of SIP devices out there and it would be nice to extend them simply to at least support presence information, if not messaging. Similarly, session negotiation in XMPP was a mess until Google ignored the standards group, wrote their own protocols, released a BSDL implementation, and then proposed them as standards; too many armchair developers, who were never going to implement the standards, had been involved b
  • Anyone who has used any of their products can tell you that without the mapping data, they are absolute crap. Their server platforms are all garbage lagging badly behind everyone else in the industry with no hopes of every catching up. However, while their data side is quite solid it's not a position one can live on forever. Road/Map data doesn't change that often and it is possible for anyone else to recreate it given the time and resources. If I was sitting up high at NavTeq I'd be patting myself on the b
    • by Nexx ( 75873 )
      It might have something to do with Navteq competitor Tele Atlas being acquired by TomTom [] back in July.
    • Id love to know where that information comes from. I suspect the Great Gazoo.
      Navteq has been in the business of building maps for 22 years with a commanding lead in both market share and data quality over its nearest competitor. The product offerings are surging, the coverage areas are ever expanding worldwide, and the stock is soaring.

      Its short sighted to think that 8.1 billion only buys simple roadmap data. Roadmap data is merely the base for an abundance of other products/services.
      • by juuri ( 7678 )
        Having deployed NavTeq products before on extremely high traffic websites I feel safe in saying they are shit.

        Because of NDAs and such I don't feel too comfortable outlining faults in detail, but to get an idea how much they just don't get it, ask them about building a high availability cluster and marvel at the design they suggest (as it is the only one their server products support; here's a hint it isn't HA). They are well behind everyone, including Microsoft on the product side of this. Their data is t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamwahoo2 ( 594922 )
      I am not a big time investor, but I have owned shares in Navteq for some time. And as a shareholder, I am officially pissed off!!

      Am I surprised that someone bought them? No. But I had expected more than a $0.03 premium!! This whole deal stinks of insider collusion, and I for one intend to vote 'No' on this acquisition with my shares.

      So explain to me exactly why I should be patting myself on the back? If I wanted to sell at $78, I could have sold it at market price on Friday for that. I and every other share

    • TomTom MapShare enables users to make updates to the maps, and download updates from other users. User created content is the key to improving the quality of the map data.

      TomTom mapshare explanation and cheat code: []


  • Is anyone else getting completely blown away at the sheer value of some of this takeovers? The amounts of money flying around the world in these corporations is mind blowing.. Must just be my poor little ass being unable to fathom that much cash... :/
  • Stories like this always make my skin tingle because one of my goals in life is to start a software company and get bought out by some giant. You'll never get rich by working for someone else. I'd be happy with 8.1 million.
  • by markdj ( 691222 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:41PM (#20818065)
    A significant number of GPS systems that run on phones that compete with Nokia use Navteq maps. Could or would Nokia stop licensing Navteq maps to non-Nokia phones? I find this troubling.
    • by Rovaani ( 20023 )
      Um, why would they do that? Why give up sales of almost 600 million dollars?

      At the moment there are only two players in the mapping business, TeleAtlas and Navteq.
      TomTom recently bought TeleAtlas so why would Nokia just give up the whole market to them?

      • Why give up sales of almost 600 million dollars?

        I would give up 600 million dollars in exchange for 700 million dollars. If they could turn n sales of devices with Navteq mapping products into n sales of Nokia devices with Navteq mapping products, it would make financial sense. This is where the old business maxim of not competing with your channel comes from. If your supplier is also your competitor, it's time to start looking for a new supplier; eventually it will be in their best interests to stop supplying you.

  • I'm not sure that this is such a good idea. Time and again, operators have made clear the fact that when a mobile phone manufacturer tries to package this kind of application with their phones, the application will be "evaluated" against the operator own offering. In this case, it means that the operator will remove the original mapping application and will install its own instead, The common justification is that it allows the operator to standardize on a single application across a wide range of devices.
    • Nokia is looking past the demise of mobile phone operators. That is what the 770/N800 are about. If every city is blanketed in free WiFi / WiMAX, then 90% of the need for a mobile network operator disappears. Sure, you'll still want something to fall back on when you are in the country, but if you're only using it 10% of the time or less, the provider will have much less of a say in the kind of device you can use, because they won't be in a position to offer subsidised devices. And, for a lot of people,
      • Google, or a coalition of Google, Nokia, and others (maybe Apple), would be a tipping point for this.
        Ooops. Need to finish drinking coffee before posting. That should have read:

        Google, or a coalition of Google, Nokia, and others (maybe Apple), winning the 700MHz spectrum auction would be a tipping point for this.
      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        If every city is blanketed in free WiFi / WiMAX, then 90% of the need for a mobile network operator disappears.

        In the U.S. with its not-even-Third-World mobile coverage WiFi/WiMAX is perhaps a viable competitor. In Europe and Asia, with pervasive GSM/GPRS/UMTS coverage, the capital outlays to set up a WiFi/WiMAX infrastructure will require such a long period of time to become competitive that it will just plain not happen. Either because businesses won't want to do such a long-term investment, or because

  • The timing of this is interesting.

    At the weekend I put out some code for a Series 60 GPS mapping application I've been writing: JohnJohn []

    Its in python, inspired by maemo-mapper + in its early stages, but already reasonably useful.

    By default it uses as its source of maps, but you can configure it to use other repositories.

    No documentation at all as yet, apart from the code, but hope to get a README out there soon.

    Kudos to nokia here, I hope this shows the power of having phones

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