Analyst: Apple May Make Bid for TomTom

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Apple may make a bid to buy the mapping company TomTom to help improve its own iOS 6 Maps service, according to Rabobank International analyst Hans Slob. TomTom already provides some map data for Apple, and owning the company would allow for faster improvements to Maps.

Analyst thinks Apple wants to buy TomTomApple could pay as much as €10 (about US$13) a share for TomTom, which is currently trading around €4.12, according to Bloomberg.

Mr. Slob claims the deal would be a win for both companies. "TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom," he said.

Apple faced widespread criticism for the accuracy of its Maps app after dropping Google's mapping service with the release of iOS 6. Many people complained about bad driving directions, prominent locations that weren't listed, and the lack of mass transit directions and street view.

Earlier this week Police in Australia warned motorists to avoid using Apple's Maps after motorists were left stranded in a wilderness area nearly 50 miles from the town they thought their iPhones were directing them to. Apple moved quickly to correct the problem, but there are still reports of inaccurate directions.

Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed former senior vice president Scott Forstall, the man ultimately responsible for Maps and Siri, out of the company and published a public apology letter promising that improvements were on the way. Sources said Mr. Forstall apparently refused to sign the letter, which may have been the final straw for Mr. Cook.

Apple and TomTom haven't commented on whether or not there's any weight behind Mr. Slob's prediction, but TomTom's stock is climbing on the possibility.

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Constable Odo

That sounds like a good deal.  Apple has plenty of cash to throw around and is definitely in need of navigation services and map datasets.  It’s hard to believe how Apple tried to do mapping on its own and then put out an unpolished product to consumers.  Apple could certainly use its own mapping division to go head to head with Google.


The better buy for maps would be Nokia. Just flat-out buy ‘em for cash.


If Apple subsumed TomTom it could be a win for both companies.

Apple gets TomTom’s mapping data & expertise, and maybe TomTom gets access to a version of the iOS for TomTom’s car nav system(s) that is user friendly and with more frequent OS bugfix updates.


TomTom is a very obvious buy for Apple that I would have expected before the Maps release.  Nokia may have good maps, but they are a competing cell phone company in bed with Microsoft, so isn’t a good fit for Apple’s culture.

Also TMO published an article awhile ago talking about Apple’s acquisition strategies.  Do either of these companies make sense? Apple likes small companies, that article said.  Nokia would be too large and too much a disruption to Apple to ingest.  How would TomTom fare?

Would Apple want to continue TomTom’s in-car navigation line? Would that be a good move for Apple expansion? They work with some car companies for integrating iPhone/iPod connectors, so it doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch, but is Apple ready to put more effort into going that direction? Or would they just shut down all of TomTom operations that they don’t immediately need, like they do with other purchases?


Apple probably could strike a deal where it acquires the ownership rights to TomTom’s data. Apple acquiring Tom Tom would be expensive because it would also be acquiring the hard ware unit, that Apple or nobody else probably would want. Apple should have bought Navigon before Garmin grabbed it.


“Hans Slob,” really?


Google and OSM pay zero for their updated map data. 

They have the retired users update the maps for free and their slaves in India check it.  Apple could create a nicer update graphic interface for the Mac to add map fixes and data. 
Tom Tom data is Old Old.  Old and bad data still needs updating.  Why pay, when users can do it for free with a good interface. It is better that Apple controls the corrected data than trusting others to fix it.

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