Nokia map push against Google

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REUTERS

A corporate logo is displayed at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki.

Stockholm - Nokia agreed to buy analytics firm Medio Systems, the Finnish wireless-technology company’s second acquisition in two weeks to bolster its Here mapping unit against Google.

The purchase boosts Nokia’s ability to provide personalised maps and services using predictive data, according to a statement today from the company.

Seattle-based Medio, which was founded in 2004 and has about 70 workers, is owned by Accel Partners, Frazier Technology Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Trilogy Equity Partners.

The deal’s value wasn’t disclosed.

Nokia is reshaping itself and expanding into new fields after selling its mobile-phone unit to Microsoft for about $7.5 billion in April.

While Nokia gets most of its revenue from wireless-network equipment, it’s seeking to make its maps unit a stronger competitor against rivals.

“There are many analytics platforms out there, but very few have gone into predictive analytics,” Michael Halbherr, head of Here, said in an interview.

“We want to make sure the foundation is extremely solid so our investments really focus on capabilities.”

Medio’s technology will give users of Nokia’s maps access to customised data that match interests and habits.

This could be restaurant recommendations for somebody ready for lunch, route instructions based on weather conditions and driving styles, or helping businesses personalise customer offerings.

 

Siri, Skybox

 

Last month, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia bought Desti, which uses language-processing technology to provide personal recommendations for travellers.

Nokia also said its venture-capital arm Nokia Growth Partners plans to spend $100 million on companies that develop intelligent-car technologies.

Desti is a spinoff from research institute SRI International, which helped pioneer Apple Inc.’s Siri voice-recognition software.

Nokia’s isn’t alone in spending money to improve its location business. Mountain View, California-based Google said June 10 it’s acquiring satellite company Skybox Imaging for $500 million as it works to bolster its mapping services and improve Internet access.

Nokia built its location-technologies business by buying Chicago-based map provider Navteq for $8.1 billion in 2008 and 3-D map-technology maker Earthmine in 2012.

Nokia provides map data to Amazon.com, Microsoft, Yahoo! and four out of five car-navigation systems.

“We’re now in the mode of making very focused investments to get us up that strategic staircase,” Halbherr said.

“We continue to rebuild our traffic platform with Earthmine and now we’re moving up the stack with analytics.” - Bloomberg News


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