Uber has reportedly join the race to acquire Nokia’s Here maps division with a US$3 billion (about RM10.8 billion) bid. The ride sharing service was rumoured to be one of the parties interested in picking up the division when news that Nokia was considering selling Here maps.
The turn of events is not surprising considering that Uber stands to gain the most from the purchase of a mapping service. It currently relies heavily on Google Maps for geo-spatial data to pair drivers and passengers, a situation that the company has been trying to move away from. Despite Uber being funded by Google’s venture capital arm, the ride sharing service appears to want to be as independent as it possibly can. Having access to a fully fledged mapping service would allow it to stand on its own.
However, Uber will be competing against a consortium of German automobile manufacturers – comprising of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz – who are also reportedly working on filing their own bid for Here maps. The car makers already rely on Here maps for their in-vehicle satnav, but are likely to want to own the mapping service to build a future range of autonomous vehicles.
Here maps caters to 80-percent of the world’s in-car satellite navigation systems, and whichever company successfully takes control of it stands to gain a substantial revenue increase through licensing of the maps. Both the current bidders do not actually need that extra revenue stream, but it wouldn’t hurt to be able to control it.
The German consortium have not filed a bid just yet, and it will be interesting to see if they are willing to put up more than US$3 billion to buy a mapping service. Either way, it looks like Nokia will be spoilt for choice if they decide to sell Here maps.
[Source: New York Times]