Nokia wants Apple to buy its money-losing HERE maps business

“Nokia Oyj, the Finnish company selling its money-losing maps business, is trying to drum up interest from some of the biggest names in technology including Apple Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said,” Alex Sherman, Aaron Kirchfeld, and Manuel Baigorri report for Bloomberg.

“Those companies as well as Facebook Inc., a group of German carmakers, and private-equity firms are among the companies looking at Nokia’s maps operations, known as HERE, highlighting the ubiquity and utility of location-based services,” Sherman, Kirchfeld, and Baigorri report. “Nokia is seeking more than 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) from a sale of the unit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.”

“The mapping assets have lost value: Nokia bought them for $8.1 billion in 2008. They were worth about 2 billion euros last year, according to Nokia’s financial reports,” Sherman, Kirchfeld, and Baigorri report. “Some of the world’s largest technology companies may be interested in Nokia’s mapping technology to improve their navigational software, a standard feature of smartphones. Apple struggled in 2012 when it debuted mapping software for its operating system, which gave users poor directions and mislabeled landmarks. Apple eventually allowed Google Inc.’s mapping application on iPhones and iPads to assuage critics.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: See those last two sentences? As predicted before Apple’s high profile firings and subsequent upper management reorg:

No matter what Apple does, no matter how much better they make Apple Maps, it will now always “suck” in the minds of a large segment of the population… Apple seems to have learned nothing from the Newton: First impressions mean everything. Apple’s Maps have been Newtonized. All that’s missing is the Doonesbury strip.

Here’s a little hint for the future: Everything that requires widespread customer use to develop a rich database before the product becomes fully usable should be clearly labelled “beta” upon release. Apple did it with Siri, but they forgot to do it with Maps. Had Apple been smart enough to simply place a “beta” tag on Maps, all of this rigamarole would never have occurred. — MacDailyNews Take, September 28, 2012

Apple’s Maps could direct people to El Dorado, Atlantis, and Amelia Earhart’s plane and people would still complain. Great job, Scott.

For reference, Nokia’s HERE is, uh, here.

Related articles:
Nokia announces ‘HERE’ maps application for Apple’s iOS devices – November 13, 2012
Tim Cook open letter: We fell short with new Maps app; we are extremely sorry – September 28, 2012


    1. In my opinion, Here maps are better than Apple maps. Always have been. The problem with Apple Maps isn’t just that they are inaccurate, it’s that they are slow and harder to use, with less information and horrible controls. Mapquest, Here, Google, and BingYahoo each have implementations that are as good or better than Apple’s attempt.

      $3 billion for a decent map would be money better spent than $3 billion for plastic headphones and a me-too streaming music company.

      1. I must live on a different planet I have found Apple’s controls and interface amazingly simple compared to Googles mesmerisingly unfriendly (if well stacked) interface. As for speed Apple maps started out generally quicker I found can’t say that I find it particularly slow now. Haven’t used those other than these 2 mind so can’t compare any of the above to them.

      2. Just checked HERE for the first time. They show the 9-month old bridge and the 1-2 year old *permanent* road closures in my area (permanent because there’s now some houses in the way).

        Can’t speak to routing or business info, but right away HERE’s map data is better locally than what Apple Maps.

        That said, Apple uses TomTom, the supposed leader in GPS tech. TomTom’s own maps are missing the bridge and road closures.

        TomTom needs to be dumped posthaste, their incompetence is contributing to the ongoing bad rep that Apple Maps is getting.

  1. I still use Google Maps on my iPhone because the map for my neighbourhood and city is up-to-date, while Apple’s Maps is showing maps and satellite images from over six years ago. I know this by the buildings that have since been torn down and replaced with newer ones. Apple’s Maps is good for historical research, I guess.

  2. Here on the Big Island of Hawaii, despite the presence of an Apple van some months ago, maps stink. Landed me several times in the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere. One time, 15 miles out in the wilds, I had to pull over and download Google maps to my iPhone, which took me straight to where I needed to. Sad.

    1. Lost in Hawaii? LOL! There are typically only two main roads on each island. Travel 25 miles in a straight line in any direction anywhere in Hawaii and you’ll be standing in the Pacific Ocean. Kinda hard to get lost.

    2. I hear ya. I have trouble with Apple maps in Honolulu, where you would think intensive mapping resources would have been applied, but good data are lacking.

      Re: @Zeke.
      Sure, you know what’s mauka and makai if you can see through all the abesias, but that doesn’t help you get your car from here to where you want to be. The roads are not marked and neither are the few buildings you might see. As for “travel 25 miles in a straight line” — well, try that on another island called Manhattan. Let us know how it helps find your destination! Next time you’re on island, be sure to ask about gps units. Tourists rent plenty of them. Otherwise, I’d just tell you to go mauka and turn left at the monkey pod tree, then turn right at the second wood frame house with the metal roof.

  3. Apple maps has worked well for me all over the U.S. and parts of Canada. I used to use Google maps. The roads were accurate but the businesses were iffy. Many times it would send me an establishment that had closed long before then. It got to the point we always called ahead to be sure they were still in business. Maybe Google has gotten better.

    1. I use Apple Maps exclusively. In my area Google is famous for sending you to some centrally located well known location before directing you to where you actually want to go. For instance, if I ask it for a route to Hood River from Boring, OR, it will send me to the I-205/I-84 interchange first before putting me on I-84, which is 25 miles out of my way, when I could get on I-84 3 miles from my original location.

  4. MDN’s take is BS. They are lending a helping hand to the apple haters.

    I use Apple Maps all the time. No complaints. I will never use Google Maps on my computer of iPhone. I am working hard to eradicate Google Maps from my Tesla. Anyone have any ideas or Apps on how I can do this I’d be very interested.

    1. The search facility in Apple Maps can be a bit iffy here in the UK. If you search for a postcode ( Zip ) it will always go to exactly the right place, but if you search for a named location, it’s much more likely to list businesses with that name in their trading name than to list the geographic place.

      For instance, last year I searched for Loch Ness ( the lake with the legendary monster ) in Scotland, but all the results that came up were for businesses in Scotland, England and the US, the actual Loch was not on the list. I reported the issue to Apple and it appears to be fixed by now.

      There is also an issue where it doesn’t reliably find village names when searched for by name, even though that village is shown on the displayed map with exactly the same name.

      The maps themselves are absolutely great, but the database allowing users to search for places still needs a lot of fine tuning.

  5. Apple Maps just sucks. Why, after four months has Apple not changed a very simple street name error, when Google managed to do it in two weeks??? Huh Apple? Changes submitted to both companies on the same date. Apple is too busy with trinkets (Apple Watch anyone?), and endlessly changing things for changes sake and is simply too disorganised to get much right any more. So sad for a once great company.

  6. I love Apple. But maps still does not recognize the standard two-character abbreviation for the state of Wyoming (“WY”). Instead, this state abbreviation as erroneously auto-corrected as “way”. It’s the darndest thing. Crazy.

    1. Apple Maps is replete with oddities. On a route I drive often, my destination is Bella Vista, AR. In one of the highway transitions I’m on a road that goes on to Fort Smith, AR. I get a chuckle when Siri says, “Stay on Highway (can’t remember the number} toward Fort Smith, Arizona.” Crazy, indeed.

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