Since Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft just on a year ago, they’ve been focussing on developing the remaining parts of the business that have a chance at profitability. One of those units is their mapping business.
A report by Bloomberg suggests that Here, the name given to Nokia’s maps business unit, is up for sale with Recode speculating that Apple should look to buy one of the few jewels remaining in the Finnish company’s crown.
Our own experience has been Apple Maps works pretty well most of the time. However, there have been some annoying features. For example, if navigating to a location that has an incomplete address in Contacts, we end up in a central location in the suburb near the actual place we’re navigating to. Also, there are times when it simply can’t find known addresses.
In other words, from our experience, Apple Maps needs some work. In contrast, we don’t have the same level of annoyance with Google Maps that does a better job of finding places. But we end up using Apple Maps more as it’s so tightly integrated into other iOS apps such as Calendar.
When Apple Maps was launched to great fanfare, Apple had to do some quick back pedalling as the service offered some “creative” navigational advice. The issues were so serious that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook issued a very rare apology that went as far as recommending other apps instead of Maps.
While those days are behind us, it’s clear that Apple could do worse than take some of the $180B they have in the bank and buy Nokia’s maps division in order to bolster their own software.
Will Apple go ahead and buy Nokia’s map division, if it is on the market? No one outside Apple really knows the answer but Apple’s track record in buying other companies tends to be around the acquisition of strategic technologies. However, the recent purchase of Beats was about making a tactical play to respond to shifting consumer behaviour away from purchased music towards subscription streaming services.
The potential purchase of Nokia’s maps division would be a similar tactical move. It would help fix some of the shortcomings Apple Maps suffers from.