Nokia may really be preparing to divest itself of the Here maps service. A collective group of German car-makers, supported by Chinese firm Baidu. Here provides maps for a large portion of the automotive industy, and gaining control of it would be a very strategic move for the German manufacturers.
It is rare to see BMW AG, Audi AG, and Mercedes-Benz collaborate on anything, but it would appear that Here is important enough that the three are willing to divide a controlling share of the service between themselves. Baidu will purchase a minority share in the service, and is expected to be limited in offering Here to China only. Nokia itself is reportedly also holding on to a minority stake in the division.
It is presumed that these three manufacturers will use the resources from Here to improve on their own internal satnav systems, while also investing in to turn it into a system to power self driven cars. Audi is also forming a separate partnership with Baidu. Baidu is an important partner in this consortium as it will allow Here to map China; a country that has until now prevented Google from doing any mapping.
Nokia had announced that it was exploring the possibility of selling off the Here maps division shortly before its merger with Alcatel-Lucent. While many are still holding out for the chance that Nokia will return to making smartphones, it looks like the company is going in the opposite direction and streamlining its business to focus on providing telecommunications network equipment instead.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]