What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Nokia gets on the maps

Jill Barshay Oct 1, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Nokia gets on the maps

Jill Barshay Oct 1, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: Why spend a measly 10 bucks on a road atlas when you can buy the whole mapping company for a little more than $8 billion?

The world’s largest maker of mobile phones, the Finnish cellular giant Nokia, is apparently navigating its way into the future. Marketplace’s Jill Barshay explains:


JILL BARSHAY: NAVTEQ keeps track of where all the roads are around the world. It licenses this information to companies that create Internet maps, GPS systems for cars or walking directions. Even atlas maker Rand McNally buys data from them.

Avi Greengart of Current Analysis says Nokia was buying this raw data for its cell phone maps. Now it wants the whole supply chain.

AVI GREENGART: It would be like McDonald’s owning the cows or the land on which the cows graze.

Nokia is the world’s largest cell phone maker. But Greengart says it’s worried about competition from Apple’s iPhone — or maybe even the rumored Google phone. By buying Navteq, Nokia hopes to gain an edge over these new rivals.

GREENGART: They want to be more than just a cell phone company. This is not limited just to mapping data. In recent months, Nokia has announced an Internet portal strategy. They’ve launched a mobile music store. They’ve bought a mobile advertising agency.

Carolina Milanesi of the Gartner Group predicts that GPS navigation will be one of the fastest-growing add-on services for cell phones.

CAROLINA MILANESI: In Europe, you definitely see an interest from consumers for services around GPS, from navigation to both car and pedestrian to traffic updates and so forth.

Nokia says it will still license Navteq’s data. Now that Nokia owns half the market, it could jack up prices. If users like Google decide not to pay, consumers could end up with fewer choices on where to go.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.