TomTom announced that it has agreed to acquire Tele Atlas, the second largest mapping data provider behind NAVTEQ, for $2.77 billion: A surprising move and also very smart strategy for TomTom, whose entire GPS line-up is powered by Tele Atlas mapping data.
According to Harold Goddijn, the Chief Executive Officer of TomTom, the navigation industry is going to change dramatically in the next few years as end customers will give ever increasing importance to intelligent routing and continuously updated maps. By integrating customer feedback (streets, POIs, traffic) into the Tele Atlas map manufacturing process, TomTom can nicely integrate all the data in TeleAtlas data base. It will be also possible for TomTom to supply all companies improved maps for their PNDs, wireless handsets, in-car systems, internet services and in-house routing services.
So this acquisition makes a lot of sense: access to a great source of data for TomTom,and also access to the automotive market and customer feedback integrated on the mapshare applications of TeleAtlas. But what about the issues ? With Google rumored to be looking at NAVTEQ with bedroom eyes, does it mean that only Navteq remains independent (for the moment)? Is Google really planning to acquire NAVTEQ ? Other PND manufacturers won't accept to buy TeleAtlas data anymore ? Answers will be coming soon.