Nokia sells maps business HERE to German car giants for £2bn

Nokia announced the €2.8 billion (£2 billion) deal on Monday morning after months of speculation surround a diverse group of bidders. As well as the German consortium, a joint bid between taxi-hailing app Uber and the Chinese search engine Baidu had been rumoured as had mapping company Navinfo.

Nokia had been expected to sell off HERE ever since Microsoft agreed to buy its mobile phones unit in 2013, with the Finnish company concentrating on its networks business. The car manufacturers, meanwhile, see increasing competition from Google, which runs its own free mapping service and is developing driverless cars, and Uber, which is making owning a car less attractive for some people.

Not only are accurate maps with real-time data crucial for cars’ inbuilt satellite navigation systems, they will also be a key factor in the development of driverless cars. The Telegraph report that the German carmakers are developing self-driving technology at various levels, although Google has become the poster boy for the new technology.

In a joint statement, the manufacturers said: “HERE is laying the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location based services. For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving.

“Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services.”

They also stressed that HERE, whose technology is used in 80 per cent of sat-nav systems in Europe and America, would continue to be independent and the consortium would not interfere with operations.

On the official HERE blog, the business said that the car manufacturers would also be “suppliers of data”, giving the maps up to date information on driving patterns and traffic conditions.

“All carmakers are working toward providing amazing, new connected services, and only by collaborating and sharing data can we reach the critical mass to make real-time map updates a reality,” HERE’s Pino Bonetti said.