It doesn't seem like too long ago that Nokia went all-in with Windows Phone and differentiated itself with its Here map service. Since then, not only has the company sold its Devices and Services divion to Microsoft (which Redmond later restructured), but now the former mobile phone giant has also sold off the Here service . A consortium of automakers including Audi, BMW, and Daimler has purchased the unit for €2.8 billion ($3.06 billion).
Here president Sean Fernback believes the acquisition is good news for the group's customers and employees. Fernback said the change in ownership "will allow us to accelerate our strategy, further scale our business and fulfill our intent to become the leading location cloud company across industries." Nokia says Here will continue to offer its services on mobile devices and wearables, along with in-dash integration.
A consortium of big car manufacturers seems like a good landing spot for Here. Nokia's announcement says the service uses the data created by vehicles and their drivers to improve the accuracy of its maps to provide a better experience. That data may also come in handy for future tech like automated driving. The auto consortium may see a competitive advantage in having access to all that data, too.
After this sale, Nokia has two major businesses: Nokia Networks and Nokia Technologies. Nokia Networks provides infrastructure software and services, while Nokia Technologies handles R&D and intellectual property licensing. Nokia president and CEO Rajeev Suri says the next step in the company's transformation is to complete its proposed merger with Alcatel-Lucent. Suri said that after the merger, "Nokia will be a renewed company, with a world-leading network technology and services business, as well as the licensing and innovation engine of Nokia Technologies." Whether this series of moves renews Nokia's fortunes remains to be seen, but nobody can dispute that Nokia today looks very different than Nokia of early 2014.