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Microsoft & Amazon to pick up minority stake in HERE Maps

nokia here (2)

Carmaker Daimler AG has said that Amazon and Microsoft are in talks with the company about taking a minority stake in its digital mapping service HERE, reports the Mint. Daimler mentioned that it is in talks with other carmakers for a stake in HERE as well.

Note that the automotive industry consortium which includes automakers Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG had purchased HERE from Nokia for € 2.8 billion (over $3 billion) in August last year. The consortium is apparently looking for a cloud computing partner to help manage the data collected by HERE and their cars, and Amazon and Microsoft will likely fill in this gap. Microsoft currently offers Azure cloud services, while Amazon has Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Interestingly, last month, HERE Maps ended support for devices running Windows 10, with all HERE branded apps to be pulled down from Microsoft’s store. HERE maps continues to live on Windows Phone 8 devices, but the company stated explicitly that it will not be releasing new updates/features for any Windows Phone platform.

Regulatory approval for HERE deal: In December, Nokia said it had received all regulatory approvals for the sale of its Here mapping unit to the consortium of the German carmakers. Nokia expected to gain a cumulative foreign exchange differences of around € 1 billion (over $1.1 billion). The company started reporting the HERE business as a ‘discontinued operation’ from the third quarter of 2015.

Other automakers to join the consortium: In July last year, we reported that the 3 automakers would invite other automakers like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Renault SA, PSA Peugot Citroën, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors to invest in the mapping service. However, given that the company is still looking, it’s unlikely a definitive deal has been reached.

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Open Automotive Alliance: Google, which launched Android Auto in India and 17 other countries yesterday, had mentioned that it was collaborating with several automotive and technology companies like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Ford and Nvidia, Parrot, Pioneer, LG, Alpine etc., to bring its Android platform to cars through its Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). Mahindra & Mahindra had also joined this alliance in June last year.

Google is working with these OAA partners to adapt Android for the car and introduce new forms of integration with Android devices. Mahindra for example, had said that it would integrate Android Auto in its flagship models of XUV 500 and Scorpio as well as other upcoming cars.

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