Facebook moving towards Nokia’s HERE for mobile

Social media giant Facebook is showing a strong interest in Nokia’s HERE mapping suite for its mobile offerings. TechCrunch first flagged the move up, which was subsequently confirmed by both companies.

HERE products are apparently being used for maps accessed on Facebook via a mobile browser (as opposed to the mobile app), although a quick check revealed Bing in the UK, so maybe this is a US-only thing for now. The report says Facebook is also testing HERE on some apps such as Instagram and Messenger.

Facebook’s sudden interest in HERE coincides with Nokia announcing it is “considering options” for HERE, which include selling it. This is considered the most likely option, especially since acquiring Alcatel Lucent will cost almost €16 billion.

There are very few sources of mapping data, which is why Nokia paid $8 billion for Navteq back in 2007. That acquisition is essentially what HERE is today, although the suggested sale value of $2 billion suggests there isn’t the money in mapping that Nokia thought there would be eight years ago.

But having said that, maybe LBS (location based services) just hasn’t got it right yet and when it does there will be a distinct strategic advantage to owning your own maps. This is why Google and Apple have invested so much in mapping (with mixed results) and it’s not difficult to see acquisitive Facebook being tempted.

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