BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz Working Together to Buy Nokia’s Here Maps Division

Nokia Here 1 photo
Photo: Nokia
The struggle to bring out autonomous cars is as fierce as ever. With Google and Apple looking into it, traditional car makers find themselves fighting rivals, unlike anything they saw before. As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures!
According to the Wall Street Journal, the three arch rivals in the premium segment in Germany, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, are currently working together to acquire Nokia’s mapping service: Here.

If you’re a Windows Phone user, you probably heard of Here Maps, the app being one of the best navigation alternatives available for smartphones at the moment. However, the three companies are not interested in using its navigation feature alone but are more interested in its mapping capabilities. That’s because it would help them out in developing self-driving cars in the future.

Sources for the WSJ claim that the Germans got interested in this deal after Nokia announced that it could sell its division last month. However, during the shareholders meeting that took place this Tuesday, the Fins said that another possibility could include keeping the unit.

While they make up their mind, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are preparing an official bid for Here. They also joined forces with Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google. However, the Chinese company would only get a small share of the division but it could be enough to be used in China.

The interest from Baidu comes as Google is forbidden from mapping China at the moment. Therefore, Nokia’s Here division could prove to be essential in selling and using self-driving cars in the communist country. At the same time, it appears like the Chinese company will only be allowed to use the software on its homeland.

Nokia itself claims that in order for this deal to happen, the interested parties should pay at least €2 billion ($2.27 billion) which is not change money by any means. However, the Germans seem determined to make this move since a move from a software giant such as Google in this regard could prove disastrous.

The greatest threat to the automobile industry would be if Google developed an operating system for self-driving cars and made it available free to everyone,” said a person familiar with the situation. “We need the map for the operating system in the cars.”
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