Nokia Sells Digital Mapping Product HERE To German Automakers For $3 Billion
The deal highlights the increased value brands are placing on owning interactive mapping services — and controlling their own location data.
Nokia has finalized a deal to sell its HERE digital mapping and location services product to a consortium of German automakers for $3 billion, signaling the increased value brands are placing on owning their own interactive mapping services.
According to HERE’s purchasers, the digital maps will be used in conjunction with real-time vehicle data in order to both increase safety on the road and to introduce new location-specific offers and products to drivers. But the automakers will still invest in HERE and license its technology and data to third parties, Search Engine Land reported, allowing it to remain an “independent provider of maps and location-based services…to all customers across industries.”
Whether or not the new owners — which include AUDI AG, BMW Group, and more — follow through on the promise to invest in HERE on the global level at which Nokia did originally, the move is a clear sign that taking control of location data is of growing importance brands worldwide.
As we wrote in May, Uber reportedly bid for HERE as well, and Facebook struck its own agreement with Nokia to use its location service to power maps on its mobile apps, including its standalone Messenger and its image-sharing platform Instagram.
These numerous deals and attentions are largely driven by brands’ desires to cater to consumer interest in on-demand services, but without complete reliance on geo-data owned by other parties like Google and Apple. By owning an interactive mapping entity, brands (here, Audi and BMW) can develop more customized offerings for users and not have to worry that their data’s “owner” might not have their business’s best interest at heart.
“In the not-too-distant past, people and companies just looked at a map, and thought, ‘One’s as good as any other,’” Marc Prioleau, managing director of location-based services consultancy Prioleau Advisors, told GeoMarketing.“But there are a lot of things that can go wrong. And a lot of things can be made to work better, look better, and ultimately reflect a specific brand in a more differentiated way than they previously have. I would expect the bidding and investing in these mapping companies to continue for the next few months at least.”
In any case, the HERE team and its buyers appear settled and seem optimistic for the mapping service’s potential in its new iteration. “I believe today’s announcement is a very good outcome for HERE,” said Sean Fernback, HERE’s president, in a statement. “The new ownership structure of HERE will allow us to accelerate our strategy, further scale our business and fulfill our intent to become the leading location cloud company across industries.”