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Nokia HERE maps sold to German car makers

Barry Collins
3 Aug 2015
Nokia HERE maps
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HERE maps sold to Audi, BMW and Daimler. But what will become of the apps?

Nokia has offloaded its HERE maps division to three German car manufacturers, raising question marks over its future as a standalone app. HERE maps is built into Microsoft's Lumia handsets and is also available for iOS and Android. It's one of the few satnav apps that offers downloadable, offline maps for free.

HERE has been sold to a consortium of car manufacturers - Audi, BMW and Daimler. It's not yet clear what the companies plan to do with HERE maps, although they're clearly interested in developing their own in-car satnav with the technology. HERE, which has almost 6,500 employees, is being sold for 2.8 billion Euros (just shy of £2 billion). 

HERE had become something of a black sheep at Nokia, after the company sold its handset division to Microsoft in 2013. Nokia recently agreed to buy Alcatel Lucent, reinforcing the company's focus on back-end networking equipment and services, rather than consumer goods. 

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"I believe today's announcement is a very good outcome for HERE, its customers and employees," said HERE president, Sean Fernback. "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."

One way in which the automotive firms may implement HERE's technology is in the development of self-driving cars. HERE is also working on a "location cloud" that crowd sources data from other vehicles on the road to deliver real-time traffic and accident updates. Similar systems are already in use by rivals TomTom and Google, among others. 

 

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