Keeping with old the adage of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Germany’s Big Three are working together to buy a controlling stake in Nokia’s Here mapping unit. The move is partially to keep it out of the hands of Google, Apple, or Facebook, but mainly to give the automakers a leg up on both self-driving vehicles and in-car services.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal for Here could go down within the next two weeks and is valued at “considerably more than €2 billion.”
If you’re driving a modern car with navigation, there’s a good chance you’re already using Nokia’s mapping service in some form, with not only BMW, Daimler, and the Volkswagen Group using the service, but Ford, GM, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, and Nissan/Renault.
Nokia hinted at selling Here last month and leading to speculation that many companies might be interested in a controlling stake in the service. Among them was Facebook and Uber, and the WSJ reports that the German automakers threatened to stop using Here if it sold to a tech company.
Automakers are looking for a mapping service that can give Google a run for its money in both its accuracy and abilities, and currently Here is the closest thing available.
“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 one source speaking with the WSJ. “We need the map for the operating system in the cars.”