In May of last year I had a conversation with someone who told me that Nokia Maps (Navteq) would effectively replace the infrastructure behind Bing Maps. I was surprised to say the least and wrote about it in a story entitled Bing Maps To Be Powered (Replaced) By Nokia?
The impression I got is that Bing would control the presentation layer and search on top of maps but that the “guts” would come from Nokia/Navteq. At the time of the story Microsoft offered the following comment:
Bing Maps has utilized Nokia content for road data, geo-coding and routing services for several years, through Nokia’s Navteq vector data business, relying on the quality of its data for core location services. The Nokia/MS partnership will enable deeper collaboration in the future.
Pocket-lint now reports, following a conversation with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, that Nokia branding will soon be showing up on Bing Maps for mobile:
[W]e shall soon be seeing the Nokia brand name within other devices and not just the company’s own phones.
“You’ll starting seeing the word ‘Nokia’ on a map that you get from Microsoft properties over a period of time,” Elop explained to Pocket-lint in an interview behind closed doors at CES in Las Vegas. “Even if you are on a BlackBerry device, who recently said they were going to start using Bing Maps.”
Consumers probably won’t care or even notice but OEMs and the various enterprise partners using Bing Maps might. The context in which it might matter (and the example used in the article) is a situation like that of BlackBerry, which adopted Bing as its default mapping platform last year.
RIM obviously competes with Nokia, which will now get branding on its phones. I suppose however, this is no different than Google branding on maps on the iPhone (which Apple will eventually probably replace).
Nokia spent $8 billion to acquire Navteq in October, 2007 and presumably negotiated this branding deal (and all that it implies) with Microsoft as part of their Lumia-Windows Phone relationship. Nokia is also now behind the new Yahoo Maps.
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