Could Microsoft become the new owner of HERE Maps?

Kareem Anderson

Image Credit: WindBeta

After the handset division was sold off to Microsoft last year, Nokia Oyj began the process of condensing itself and focusing on the company’s money makers. Nokia’s new business interests became licensing of mobile technology patents, wireless network divisions, and their widely regarded mapping technology.

There are reports today that Nokia may still be consolidating and setting up a buyout of their mapping technology, HERE Maps. According to Bloomberg Business, Nokia’s interest in discarding their maps business is two-fold. The Finnish technology company would like to focus further on their growing wireless network unit, and more importantly, improve their debt rating. Nokia is sitting with a Junk Status Rating, and a sale of Here Maps could do wonders for raising their status.

HERE Maps is currently valued at 2 billion euros or $2 billion USD. That is a drop from the $8.1 billion Nokia paid Navteq Corp back in 2008 to acquire the mapping asset. Keep in mind, these are only discussions. As Nokia continues to work with a financial adviser, the company may decide they are not receiving the financial bids to justify the sell-off, and ultimately keep the HERE Maps business.

While a sale of the maps business to Microsoft makes obvious sense, there were reasons the two couldn’t come to a consensus last year, even though reports were that Steve Ballmer wanted maps included in the Nokia phones deal. Perhaps at the time the Nokia asking price was too much for Microsoft, or Microsoft may have had other ideas for mapping. Similar to the Apple maps situation, Microsoft may be looking into more open sources solutions to avoid future licensing fees. Whatever the reason, HERE Maps only brought in 970 million euros after an operating loss of 1.24 billion. With this news, Microsoft could regain a bit of footing at the negotiating table.

We’ll continue to update as the story develops.