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Uber sidelined by German automakers in bid for Nokia Here mapping service

By Koh Wanzi - on 14 Jul 2015, 2:56pm

Uber sidelined by German automakers in bid for Nokia Here mapping service

Image Source: Uber

Uber has purportedly lost its bid for mapping service Nokia Here to a group of German automakers comprising the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The ride-hailing company that has upset even taxi drivers across the pond is rumored to have placed a US$3 billion bid for Nokia Here, which if successful would have enabled it to provide better location services to its passengers. Instead, if the German automakers get their way, they could gain a huge boon to their onboard navigation and entertainment systems.

Uber is not the only one to be out of the running. Chinese tech giants Baidu and Tencent reportedly showed initial interest, but have since appeared less keen on a deal.

The main issue of contention has been said to be the price. Nokia recently acquired Alcatel-Lucent for US$16.6 billion, and it wants at least US$4 billion for its mapping division.

While Google Maps is without doubt the dominant mapping service, Nokia Here is particularly strong in automobile mapping and the transportation sector. For instance, Amazon, FedEx and Microsoft have for years licensed Nokia Here mapping data to power their navigation and online directions services.

It’s then no wonder that Nokia Here has caught the attention of Uber and the consortium of German carmakers. With Nokia Here under its wing, Uber could have reduced its reliance on Google Maps and offer better services with Uber Pool, its ride-sharing initiative that uses geospatial data to match drivers with riders.

There is also a clear benefit to owning the mapping assets that are so crucial to the company’s services, as opposed to relying on a third-party. Nokia Here isn’t Uber’s only attempt to do so however – the company recently bought mapping software company deCarta and announced just last month that it had acquired a portion of Microsoft’s maps technology.

Source: New York Times via Engadget