Ride-sharing service Uber has made an audacious $3 billion (around £1.9bn) bid to buy the Nokia Here Maps service from under the noses of some of the auto industry’s biggest names.
New York Times sources say the company has submitted an offer for the firm, which is believed to be attracting interest from a coalition including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi and the Chinese search engine Baidu.
An unnamed private equity firm have also made an offer, according to the report, with Nokia expected to announce the sale of Here by the end of the month. Uber, who’s interest in Here has been rumoured for some time, has not commented on the reports.
A purchase would allow Uber, which currently relies on the Google Maps and Apple Maps within its Android and iOS apps, to furnish its drivers with a powerful, in-house navigation service.
Right now Uber has engineers working on in-house tools and the company recently bought the deCarta mapping software company. Here Maps and the accompanying data treasure trove would be a huge boost for Uber's efforts, thanks to its renowned for its voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation features and the ability to use them offline.
As the NYT points out, Nokia’s mapping division has an 80 per cent share of navigation systems built into automobiles. Only Google is in Nokia’s league in terms of the mapping data it possesses, collects and furnishes to its users.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced it was using Here to power maps on the mobile web, as well as the company’s suite of apps. The social network was thought to be in the running for Here, along with big names like Yahoo and Microsoft.