Nokia’s made a very strategic move by announcing their acquisition of Navteq, supplier to over half the markets street and satellite mapping information. Rand McNally, GPSs (personal and automobiles), online mapping services like Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, personal computers, PDAs, and phone manufactures are just a few of their customers. Navteq owns more market share and is considered to have a duopoly with TeleAtlas, their nearest competitor.
As both a competitor to other phone manufactures and keeper of key mapping data, Nokia is holding onto some very valuable information and could also move into markets to compete with Garmin and other GPS products. It’s a surprise Google, Microsoft of some other cash-rich tech-savvy company didn’t buy them up before this, though $8.1B is nothing to sneeze at. Sramana Mitra called attention to this one earlier (here and here). Navteq’s been around for a while (since 1985) and became much more visible when the went public. You didn’t have to re-read Megatrends to figure out the GPS and map information is the current and future currency of mobile computing, especially as hardware, software and services become geo-aware.
Looks like Nokia played this one right and snatched Navteq up before someone else did. There has to be a lot of eyes on TeleAtlas now.