Nokia sells HERE Maps to German automakers

A mobile phone running Nokia's HERE Maps. Image courtesy of HERE.
A mobile phone running Nokia's HERE Maps. Image courtesy of HERE.

Finnish software company Nokia has today announced a deal to sell its well-regarded ‘HERE’ mapping service to a consortium of German automakers.

HERE, while not particularly popular as a mobile app, has becoming the go-to software for many car manufacturers within their on-board navigation systems.

The deal came in with a final price tag of €2.8 bn ($3.07 bn). Of this however, Nokia will only receive €2.5 bn due to an estimated €300m in liabilities for which Nokia will compensate.

The software was sold to Daimler, BMW and Audi, which together represent almost all of the German car industry when their many subsidiaries are factored in.

“I believe today’s announcement is a very good outcome for HERE, its customers and employees. 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,” said HERE President Sean Fernback in a press statement.

The mapping software itself is widely regarded in the digital cartography sector, and is in many ways even more useful to automakers than its primary competitor Google Maps.

Built with technology acquired from former mapping giant NAVTEQ, the software has changed names several times, however with each iteration, has grown more powerful.

It now contains one of the world’s largest databases of road information and satellite maps. Into the future however, HERE is looking to make its software more computer optimised, allowing it to be much more easily parsed by larger programs.

This, the company hopes, will make it the go-to product for self-driving cars and networked transportation systems.

Nokia restructuring

Following the completion of this deal, Nokia will be left as two businesses: Nokia Technologies and Nokia Networks.

The former will focus on software development and licensing, while the latter will provide broadband infrastructure services and support.

Earlier this year, Nokia also announced a merger with Alcatel-Lucent, another European telecommunications technology company, with the hope that together they could form a strong new player in this growth sector.