Nokia's Bing Maps deal is a sign of the future
To supply Navteq data to Microsoft's service, one step in the strategy to converge the partners' mobile web platforms
Published: 28 May, 2012
One of the undersung elements of Nokia's 2011 alliance with Microsoft was the pledge to converge their respective mobile web offerings. That is still a work in progress, and the two brands have not yet been harmonized. Indeed, many of the steps towards a common platform are being made at the back end, including the decision to power Microsoft's Bing Maps service using Nokia's traffic and geocoding data.
That is hardly surprising news, but it does highlight the importance of Nokia's mapping activities, acquired for a massive $8.1bn with Navteq, in the partners' mutual attempt to compete with Google. Access to Navteq technology was a crown jewel in the deal for Microsoft, and Nokia also perceives the mapping platform as one of its key assets. There were reports that one of its reasons to choose WP7 over Android was that Google would not have had any place for Navteq in its location systems.
One of its few real successes in the mobile web came when it wrongfooted Google by unleashing Navteq-based Nokia Maps for free in 2010. And now the provision of mapping services to third parties is an important growth area, and likely to be integrated with Nokia's local advertising network in future. The firm also provides the back end data and services for the new Yahoo Maps. Yahoo has its own Bing partnership, a situation which highlights the integration of the Nokia and Microsoft platforms, behind the scenes if not (yet) entirely on the consumer front.
As a result of the latest agreement, Nokia will provide Bing Maps with traffic data and geocoding algorithms. It will deliver this data for 24 countries along with travel disruption alerts and the Microsoft application will gain geotagging for the first time too. Nokia said more of its mapping functionality will appear on Bing Maps in future.