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Why Apple Should Ditch TomTom and License Map Data from HERE

by Nitesh Patel | Nov 25, 2014

Apple’s decision to license map data from HERE was conceived at a point in time when Nokia owned map data provider Navteq, following a spectacular $8 Billion acquisition of Navteq in October 2007. Nokia considered Location-based services (LBS) key to the delivery of contextual and useful experiences, and importantly to differentiate from competing vendor handset offerings.

Fast forward to today.  HERE is now platform agnostic. HERE was not part of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Device & Services business – although Microsoft continues to license HERE products and content for its Lumia smartphones. As we wrote in November 2012, Nokia’s Navteq asset was rebranded as HERE and also communicated its horizontal strategy. HERE’s services are now licensed by a number of smartphone OEMs and platforms, including Amazon, Jolla, Samsung, and Tizen among others.

HERE is increasingly becoming the gold standard in the industry for its digital map products across mobile, internet and automotive touch points and it is our opinion that Apple should switch from its current map data provider TomTom to HERE. Why? As highlighted in our April 2014 report “Emerging Markets, Indoor Location & Mobile Advertising to Drive Future Mobile LBS Market Growth”  (see figure below) HERE’s superiority in digital maps extends beyond the automotive use case and into key growth areas including indoor location and pedestrian navigation (via integration with wearables) in addition to hybrid offline maps.  Therefore, Apple would be better off licensing HERE map data to support its own map platform and LBS ambitions, rather than continue to rely on TomTom.  

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