August 6, 2015
Nokia has sold its Here digital mapping unit, a global competitor to Google Maps, to German automakers Audi, BMW Group and Daimler for $3 billion. Since the sale of its mobile phone unit to Microsoft for $7.6 billion last year, Nokia has been putting efforts into its telecom network infrastructure business, which supplies carriers like AT&T and China Mobile with communication equipment. The three German auto companies will use the mapping tech for autonomous driving plans, which they will license to other companies.
According to The New York Times, car companies are making large investments in digital mapping. Some American companies, like their German counterparts, are also working on driverless car projects powered through mapping units.
Digital maps are quickly becoming crucial for growing industries, and several companies originally cast bids for Here, including ride-share service Uber. Amazon, Facebook and Chinese search engine Baidu all use Nokia’s digital data for their mapping services, partially to rely less on Google’s services.
Nokia gets more than 90 percent of its yearly revenue from its telecom business, and it is also in the process of acquiring Alcatel-Lucent, a French-American telecom equipment maker, for close to $16.6 billion. Both Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have restructured their telecom network businesses to compete with Chinese rivals Huawei and ZTE.