Is Apple planning to buy TomTom to help fix iOS 6 Maps?

Ashleigh Allsopp
18 December, 2012
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Apple could be planning to buy maps maker TomTom to help fix its mapping service.

That’s according to Netherlands-based Rabobank analyst Hans Slob, who said in a research report last week that there is a 30 percent chance that Apple will seek a purchase of Dutch software company TomTom, because of its maps expertise that could help Apple make quick changes to correct errors or create new functions in its widely criticised iOS 6 Maps app.

“TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom,” said Slob. TomTom’s stock has gained 33 percent during 2012, and is now valued at 901 million euros ($1.24 billion). Slob estimates that Apple will pay up to ten euros per share for the company, reports Bloomberg.

However, The Motley Fool has noted that Apple would ordinarily only spend up to US$500 million on an acquisition, so TomTom’s valuation much higher.

The Motley Fool also reminds us of Nuance communications, the company thought to be behind Siri, Apple’s voice-assistant. Nuance is a technology partner for Apple, but would have cost billions to buy.

TomTom is already one of Apple’s mapping data partners, alongside DigitalGlobe, CoreLogic, Yelp and more. So The Motley Fool concludes: “Sorry TomTom investors, Apple’s not buying you.”

Just last month, we reported that Apple is said to be asking TomTom for help to improve its Maps, after TomTom signed a deal earlier this year to supply mapping information to Apple. It was quick to defend itself in the uproar against Apple Maps, though, issuing a press release claiming that its maps data provides only the “foundation” of Apple’s mapping software.

Apple’s Maps app was launched with iOS 6 in September, but was closely followed by a public apology from CEO Tim Cook for the service’s mistakes, inaccuracies and poor quality images.

Cook suggested that users turn to alternatives such as Google, which on Thursday launched its Google Maps app for iPhone, much to iOS 6 users delight, although an analyst has said that the app’s return to iOS may not be permanent.


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