Nokia's series of LBS bomb drops on the industry over the last two years has changed perspectives, attitudes, and business models overnight—the kind of disruption to be expected when the worlds #1 "multimedia computer manufacturer" gets serious about a line of business strategic to continued worldwide domination. When emerging competitive threats from new disruptive entrants such as Apple [and purportedly Google] begin to surface, and their Mobility strategies hone in on Location as the key asset for contextual mobility, you'd expect the world's mobile leader to take note, and make aggressive competitive moves to counter the threat. Nokia's acquisition of digital map data provider and world leader NAVTEQ is just that move. I'm relieved NAVTEQ is joining the community that built the LBS landscape now diversifying beyond Telecom-specific offerings into other converged areas, versus becoming part of a community that thus far has reduced map data value to worthlessness at the expense of gains from other sources of sponsored revenues.
That said, as I've muddled through the thousands of pieces of press covering the Nokia-NAVTEQ story, and as I compared NAVTEQs move following Tele Atlas' own to join TomTom [which could lead to a further subsequent buyout by another suitor], I thought perhaps both aren't so great for Americans. Nokia will be the first to admit their US presence is somewhat challenged—it always has been thanks to deregulation and a myriad of wireless technologies and spectrum in this country beyond GSM. TomTom is the European offline P-Nav leader but struggles against Garmin's leadership in the US. Both Nokia and TomTom don't do well here and their historical and future focus is elsewhere. With CRIB nations representing the bulk of the mobile demand going forward, focus will head in that direction. What will be left of the hometown? Is there an opportunity lost, or one yet to emerge?