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Nokia pays $8bn for Navteq

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Nokia has jumped into the personal-navigation business with the acquisition of Navteq, for €5.7bn ($8.1bn).

Chicago-based Navteq has about 3,000 employees based at 168 offices in 30 countries. The company will operate independently, providing existing customers with mapping information and continuing to run Traffic.com.

Nokia is, of course, one of those customers - Navteq supplies the Nokia Maps application that comes with the N95 handset.

Nokia already embeds GPS in a couple of handsets, although the decision to upgrade the N95 to A-GPS (though a firmware upgrade) was more indicative of their commitment, as it requires Nokia to host servers providing the assistance (the "A" of "A-GPS").

But sat-nav isn't just about adding features to mobile phone handsets: it's also a route towards Nokia's Nirvana of selling maps, local guide information and, ideally, subscription services direct to customers. This is something that network operators have - at least in Europe - comprehensively failed to do.

Nokia already claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of cameras and portable music players, so can satellite-navigation equipment be far behind? ®

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