back to article Nokia sells HERE maps to Audi, Daimler and BMW for €2.8 billion

Nokia has announced that a consortium comprising AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG will drive off into the sunset as joint and owners of its HERE maps unit. Readers may know HERE as “Navteq” and recall that Nokia acquired the company back in 2007 for the small matter of US$8.1 billion. The company later renamed the service “ …

  1. andreas koch
    Black Helicopters

    wop

    Wop wop wop wop

  2. Aoyagi Aichou

    Hmm.

    As someone who uses both HERE and Ovi maps on my smartphones, I wonder what is the actual future of those. More specifically, what does it mean when the German 3 says "open, independent and value creating platform".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm.

      Wondered the same, HERE is a bloody good nav app. made better by the fact it is off line.

      Time to update it on my phones....Just in case.

      1. MacroRodent

        Re: Hmm.

        Got HERE maps and navigation free with a Lumia, but it is good enough I might pay for it in the future. I expect the car makers have a good motivation to keep HERE maps up to data, I like these new owners much more than I would have liked Uber or some Chinese outfit.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Hmm.

          Yeah it's been so amazing to have free worldwide maps and satnav on WP. Hopefully MS will retain a licence agreement for a good long time.

    2. Mage
      Coat

      Re: Hmm.

      Same future as excellent Symbian widgets had when Nokia created Ovi store. Zero. If it had been a "phone" /"Internet" related company maybe a future. This will be in the cars so they are not beholding to a 3rd party for built in dashboard satnav. Makes a lot of sense for the Auto guys to have their own rather than Google's spyware.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Hmm.

        Perhaps there is value in keeping the HERE Maps app going if only for the corrections that people send in and as part of the swarm for the traffic data. If it's to be populated only by Audi, Daimlers, and BMWs (and whatever other marques they've got, some luxury Italian cars, Mercedes, Smarts, and Minis off the top of my head) then it's not going to be very big.

        1. caffeine addict

          Re: Hmm.

          I was going to point out that Audi also means VW, Skoda and SEAT, but they are VAG group not Audi. I wonder why Audi went for it instead of their parents?

          In theory, VAG, Daimler, BMW could put HERE in to Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamourghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda, Volksvagen, BMW, MINI, Rolls Royce, Mercedes and Smart, as well as Scania, MAN and Freightliner trucks. All in all, that's not a bad chunk of the daily traffic on any UK road, I'd say. Well worth watching if you want to see what the traffic is up to...

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Hmm.

            More cars than I thought, but how many of those have built-in sat navs which send traffic info? If they restrict themselves just to cars that must be several years of selling more models with the sat nav option to go.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Hmm.

            "I was going to point out that Audi also means VW, Skoda and SEAT, but they are VAG group not Audi. I wonder why Audi went for it instead of their parents?"

            No, it's Volkswagen Group. There is no VAG group, not since 1992 when they stopped using the acronym for their finance arm because they were embarrassed. Even before 1992 it was a casual and unofficial name. When in the past it was Volkswagen AG it was never VAG

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/05/vwporsche-auto-union-what-the-nsfw/

        2. Alex King

          Re: Hmm.

          Right, list of current Audi (VAG) brands is - Skoda, Seat, VW, Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche. Add BMW, MINI, Smart and Mercedes to that and it's quite a chunk of the market.

          Edit: Bah, beaten to it, and forgot Rolls-Royce. At least my spelling was better.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm.

            My Nissan built in Birdeye has a Navteq DVD, damn good it works too

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Swarm intelligence ?

    As much as I would really like being notified of traffic jams along my route, I cannot help but remember that there is only one thing that swarms - stinging insects.

    I wonder how this will bite us down the road. We already know that OnStar uploads user driving habits whether the user agrees or not - how much more will this system slurp ?

    It is supposed to be "open and independant", how does that translate into respecting privacy ?

    Is it even possible to respect one's privacy when basically broadcasting one's position continuously ?

    1. JC_

      Re: Swarm intelligence ?

      "I cannot help but remember that there is only one thing that swarms - stinging insects."

      And illegal migrants, too, according to the P.M.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Swarm intelligence ?

        I think swarm is used as the collective noun for economic migrants, rather than refugees in general.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Swarm intelligence ?

      Is it even possible to respect one's privacy when basically broadcasting one's position continuously ?

      Good question but a car is far more anonymous than the various bits of electronic kit that we all carry around with us that do much the same.

      The data collection will be subject to the reasonably strict German data protection laws and we can also assume that the competition authorities will also keep an eye on the purchase. Nothing to stop the three offering sweeteners to be able to collect less anonymous data but they won't do it as a matter of course.

  4. Bob Vistakin
    Holmes

    How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

    The only realistic way these all seeing road aware systems can know what other cars are doing is if every one of them constantly phones home. That mean the manufacturers have to build one in at the factory - and agree across the board on a standard. Owning the mapping software is the first step.

    There's a full Reg piece in that alone, I'm sure.

    1. Named coward

      Re: How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

      Google already have a traffic view and it's surprisingly accurate. I suppose that means that there are enough people with android phones and an internet connection on the road - it doesn't have to be every car, just some percentage (probably not a high one either: if 2 drivers on a stretch of 120kph road are driving at 30kph, there's probably traffic.)

      1. Kevin Fairhurst

        Re: How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

        I could be wrong, but I believe that the majority of Google's live traffic information comes from Waze, which they slurped not too long ago...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

          TrafficMaster / TrafficTec put traffic speed sensors on bridges and gantrys decades ago to provide the real time information about congestion. I think Waze augments it and allows people to report the reason for the problem (which is almost always geographically wrong because of the delay whilst people reach for their phone to report - whilst driving).

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

        > Google already have a traffic view and it's surprisingly accurate

        That is, if it is working. I have been left in the lurch half a dozen times in the past month by the Google maps & navigation app deciding to go TITSUP. I had a full cell data connection that Firefox, Google Mail, and other apps had no problem with.

        It wouldn't update the map display, it wouldn't do searches, and it wouldn't do navigation. No reason given other than "Sorry, search doesn't seem to be working at the moment"

        The only reason I wasn't stranded multiple times is I had the HERE app.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long before all new cars have gps/satnav as standard?

      The only realistic way these all seeing road aware systems can know what other cars are doing is if every one of them constantly phones home

      That has been the basis of the TomTom model for years, well before anyone else was offering traffic analysis. The TomTom platform requires you to accept a limited use of your location data to support the traffic analysis, but it works impressively well, rerouting where required to keep you moving.

      The only time I didn't like the re-routing was when I was driving in severe snow and it diverted me off the motorway (according to the local radio there were various accidents ahead - the weather had just gone quite bad) - I ended up being VERY glad I had 4 wheel drive as the side roads it sent me past were not exactly snow free either.

      However, they were accident free so I got there - just used the scenic route :)

      Built-in GPS also use magnetic compass and wheel sensors to route, which means they continue to work when you're in a tunnel. I just wished there was a DIN standard for in-car GPS to pick up those extra signals so it would enable proper competition and more sensible prices.

  5. Douchus McBagg

    "value creating platform"

    it means it's created $1B in the last 8 years :)

    "that we're getting rid of, as no further value can be milked from these laurels that we've sat on."

    great. so I can expect for it to be left to rot and fester with no further updates, or even if it is, "your device is not supported".

    Thanks Obama.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      I am a Obama fan too, but I must admit I had no clue he has such influence regarding Nokia or was it Audi & Co, your comment is slightly unclear in that respect.

  6. David Roberts

    Massive write down?

    Bought for 8.1 billion USD and sold for 2.8 billion Euros (about 3.1 billion USD).

    Where did the 5 billion value go?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Massive write down?

      Write-down is less than you think. El Reg's lazy/incompetent, let's be charitable and call them lazy, failed to convert the purchase price into Euros based on the exchange rate at the time. At the time of the purchase (November 2007) the exchange rate was about 1.45 Dollars to the Euro which puts the purchase price at about € 5.6 bn. This puts the write-down at less than € 3 bn.

      The division has always been in profit and we can assume some of the money that Nokia got from Microsoft including long-term licensing for Here for the phones. So, all-in-all probably not such a bad deal considering that many considered the purchase price too high at the time.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fingers crossed it remains available for Windows Phone

    Bing Maps is pants. That's all I have to say.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    "Microsoft ... left HERE behind as it already had its own Bing Maps."

    It's HERE that's doing all the heavy lifting on Windows Phone, I'd like to see you get turn-by-turn directions with Bing Maps.

    More likely Ballmer couldn't get the cost by the board, he got a licence for it through.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "Microsoft ... left HERE behind as it already had its own Bing Maps."

      Considering how much Ballmer was allowed to throw at Nokia: "have some more money" I suspect it may simply have been the conviction that such a service was only "months away" in Bing so why bothering buying it? Or maybe they realised quite how much work is involved in keeping maps up to date?

      1. Lyndon Hills 1

        Re: "Microsoft ... left HERE behind as it already had its own Bing Maps."

        Thought MicroSoft were flogging Bing maps to Uber?

        El Reg recently

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    car manufacturers should not play in the mapping game either

    electronics for non-car control things is generally a poor and dated afterthought or a capritious scam to force an expensive subscription to a service you dont really want.

    Cars should be docking with my own device/smartphone and stop trying to duplicate it with outdated, insecure, and hard to update replica's.

  10. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    A good thing in general...

    Taking HERE away from Nokia's short attention span and putting it in the hands of an industry with a genuine interest in the product is, on the face of it a good thing. Of course, we'll see what the future holds...

    Microsoft being only a licensee rather than an owner was also a good thing. It kept it from being subsumed into Bing Maps and also ensured a cross platform agnosticism in the longer term.

    I do wonder how long it will last as a great, free product though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A good thing in general...

      "Taking HERE away from Nokia's short attention span and putting it in the hands of an industry with a genuine interest in the product is, on the face of it a good thing. "

      Is it now? Looking at the outrageous prices carmakers often charge up front for built in satnav, and the frequently breathtaking costs of map updates, I'd say that flogging HERE to car makers in general, and German ones in particular is a very bad thing.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: A good thing in general...

        Built in satnav is not expensive. Car makers put a high price on it so that they can throw it in for free when you are negotiating on your new car, and make you think you've got a good deal.

        If a dealer offers you Sat-nav thrown in, don't stop there get everything. The reason a normal family car is listed at £20K+ these days is to give negotiation space and profit. There's usually a mid-range special model with pre-selected option equipment (like S-Line for example, or NTEC+ on nissans). Tell the dealer that you want that car, but you will only pay entry level price for it. They will do it.

        Then when they've agreed, tell them you also want 3 years servicing included.

  11. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Meh

    Not forgetting...

    The benefits to the car manufacturers from the pricing policy of sat nav bought as original equipment in a car (along with everything else).

    A navigation facility that would be covered by a £100 Tom, Tom becomes a £900 "extra".

    See also Bluetooth connectivity that could be accomplished by a £2 dongle - yours for £300

    Etc., etc.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Not forgetting...

      Possibly, but I wonder if Apple were reminding BMW that everyone who buys one has a smartphone already?

      I'm wondering if this is aiming at autonomous cars rather than duplicating smartphone functions.

  12. thomas k

    near real-time warnings in real time

    Which is it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: near real-time warnings in real time

      The near real-time warning is sent to the device which displays it in realtime as it arrives. :-)

  13. FlossyThePig

    What about other manufacturers?

    The built in satnav in my Toyota uses Here map data and most likely the full navigation software as well. What will happen to non Germanic cars?

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: What about other manufacturers?

      Well, for them, the tour is over.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What about other manufacturers?

      It's unlikely that they will be shut out of licensing the data as that could annoy the competition authorities a lot. They will presumably still be able to license the service. It's not a huge differentiator for car-makers, otherwise hard to imagine them clubbing together to buy it, more of a defensive purchase to keep something that might otherwise end up in Silicon Valley's hands (my enemy's enemy is my friend).

      Detroit is also finally waking up to the threat.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: What about other manufacturers?

        If you look at who HERE license the data to ( see http://www.navigation.com/ ) I very much doubt it they could stop licencing it just like that, at least not without paying a lot of money.

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