Nokia made a bit of a splash this morning by announcing plans to buy digital mapping/navigation firm Navteq for $8.1 billion. Navteq is definitely the leading player in the space, followed by TeleAtlas — and the two companies basically dominate the market. Earlier this year, you may recall, navigation device maker TomTom announced plans to buy TeleAtlas, though that deal is not yet completed.
Many people are speculating on what this could mean for Garmin, TomTom’s main rival in the navigation device space. Garmin uses Navteq for its maps, but it seems hard to believe that Nokia would simply cut off Garmin. That would take a huge chunk of revenue out of the deal, making it a lot less worthwhile. What’s much more interesting is how this shows the strength of Nokia’s commitment to really leveraging mobile devices for location-based services and navigation information. People have talked about such things for years, and Nokia’s purchase certainly suggests that they’re about to make a big push into moving navigation info and location-based services out of a separate device and into mobile phones.