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Why Apple should snap up Nokia Here Maps

Why Apple should snap up Nokia Here Maps

Nokia’s right back at the top of the news agenda this week.

First, there were stories that the one-time major mobile maker was planning a return to selling devices, once an agreement with Microsoft not to do so expires at the end of 2015.

Now, it seems it’s readying itself to sell its loss-making Here Maps product.

And what’s more it’s touting the service, valued at €3 billion (£2.1 billion) to some of tech’s biggest players.

Facebook, Amazon and Baidu are all in the frame. But, according to sources speaking with Bloomberg, so is Apple.

apple beats deal official

If Apple can afford to spend upwards of $3 billion on Beats Audio, then securing Here Maps for the same price seems like a no-brainer.

And there are countless reasons why.

Since its disastrous launch in 2012, Apple Maps has remained a byword for failure.

Yes, more people use it now as it’s the native option.

But it’s still clunky, lacks public transit options and has been schooled by major players like Google and impressive upstarts like Citymapper.

Frankly, it’s second rate.

While Apple can point to continuing improvements in its maps offering, it’s still nowhere near as good as Here Maps.

Nokia snapped up its mapping software in a multi-billion dollar deal in 2008.

Apple Maps devices

Since then, it’s added flourishes that have earned it plenty of critical plaudits.

These include, full offline mapping, clever virtual overlays that serve up contact and review information for bars, restaurants and businesses and deeply integrated public transport information.

Throw in real time traffic information and you’re looking at one of the best smartphone mapping solutions out there.

Yes, Apple has some of these tools.

But it could improve its offering immeasurably by handing cash to Nokia for a service that's ready-made.

Apple Maps showing distorted bridge

There’s already an excellent iOS edition of Here Maps, so Apple could fold the service into its own, rebrand and be good to go.

Google would at last have some big name competition and Apple would be able to stand proudly behind its mapping service without those in the know immediately hitting the App Store for alternatives.

There are plenty of hurdles to clear. Amazon, Baidu and Facebook may well fancy a piece of the action and could take the service in new and interesting directions.

But with Apple’s huge cash pile and its need for a mapping revamp, such a purchase seems obvious to anyone who’s watching.

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