The Big 3 Germans are about to form a partnership, together with Chinese giant Baidu, to invest in or acquire “Here”, a sub-division of Nokia which creates map services. “Here” is valued at more than 2 billion Euros, according to people familiar with the situation. Same source says the German automakers are so worried about Silicon Valley’s ambitions that they are banding together to acquire Nokia’s mapping unit to prevent a technology giant such as Google, Apple or Facebook Inc. from gaining control of a key part of the technology needed to run self-driving cars and in-car digital services.
“The greatest threat to the automobile industry would be if Google developed an operating system for self-driving cars and made it available free to everyone,” said a person familiar with the situation. “We need the map for the operating system in the cars.”
The talks are said to be in the final stages and are likely to come to a result within the next two weeks. The German car makers are aiming to acquire a controlling majority.
Nokia is also entertaining the idea to still keep “Here”, or at least a minority stake.
Industry experts describe “Here” as the most advanced digital mapping service in the world, hence the German’s interest to acquire a valuable piece of tech to help them with the future self-driven cars.