Yes, it is true. TomTom of Netherlands will acquire TeleAtlas (also of Netherlands) for $4.2 billion. And, Nokia has paid $8.2 Billion for Navteq--another global map maker. Garmin abandoned its attempt to buy TeleAtlas and I am not sure if there are any other digital map makers up for grabs for Garmin. It is clear that recently, there have been intense jockeying to garner this critical content. Clearly, we will see lot more maps-based products and services sp that TomTom and Nokia realize the value from these investments.
These acquisitions are happening at the periphery of the telematics market where GM continues to push OnStar and Ford and Microsoft are working together on Sync. Clearly telematics is simply one setting to extract value from digital maps. The maps will come handy as more mobile phones deploy applications that are location-based and Google brings its advertising expertise into the mobile arena through its software platform.
The network boundaries are blurring. This space is worth watching as we better understand how companies better leverage location of customers as a critical anchor for product-service strategies.