Feeds

Nokia killed free navigation, alleges EU complaint

The fall of Nav4All

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A customer of the late Nav4All has filed a complaint with the EU, alleging that Nokia abused its market position to drive the competition out of business.

The complaint (pdf) points out that Nokia's acquisition of map-supplier Navtaq was approved on the basis that ongoing relationships would continue to exist. But according to the complaint, Nav4All was prevented from making its software compatible with competing suppliers, and received very little warning before its access to the Navtaq data was withdrawn.

Last January the EU investigated the acquisition of Navteq, by Nokia, and did identify a risk of Nokia controlling the supply of maps to competitors, pointing out that "Nokia and Navteq could foreclose [competitors] from the market of navigable digital map databases", but the report (pdf) goes on to conclude that Nokia/Navteq would have no incentive to withdraw maps from competitors as the loss of income would be considerable.

That investigation "only relates to foreclosure of competitors manufacturing mobile handsets", and goes on to explain that Nokia's limited presence in the mapping business means that the company wouldn't want to lose income from other licensees with whom it wasn't really competing.

But that was then, and now Nokia is very active in mapping applications - 1.4 million people downloaded Ovi maps in the first week it became free - and Nokia sees mapping as a way of differentiating its handsets. Nav4All was using the same dataset as Ovi Maps, but worked on competitors' handsets, so Nokia obviously had something to gain through the demise of Nav4All.

The existence of a motive doesn't prove anything, of course, but Navteq's requirement that Nav4All not use any competing data source provides more circumstantial evidence. According to the complaint Nav4All was told that continued use of Navteq maps required an obligation to use Navteq maps for its commercial service, once launched. That effectively prevented the company exploring alternatives before the plug was pulled.

The complaint does note these conditions were applied to all of Navteq's customers, but Nav4All reckons that with such a condition in place it was prevented from looking at competitors (which would be TeleAtlas, the industry being a duopoly) and was thus fatally exposed.

We've been in touch with both Nokia and Navteq, but neither company has got back to us with any comment so far: presumably still absorbing the substance of the complaint.

On a small scale there's not a lot of money at stake - even the complainant admits that at worst he'll lose €45 a year. But the proposition that Nokia drove a competitor out of business by buying up their only-available supplier is a serious allegation, and one that the EU may find itself obliged to investigate. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Apple patent LOCKS drivers out of their OWN PHONES
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you text that
Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola
The part that Google never got will play ball with Redmond
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.