At its big Windows Phone 8 launch event, Microsoft announced that Nokia’s map technology is a key part of its new smartphone operating system—whether the phones that run it are made by Nokia or not.When Nokia dumped its existing smartphone software for Windows Phone, it got something in exchange besides cold, hard cash: Microsoft promised to bake Nokia Maps into its mobile-device software and other online services.
That In 2007, Nokia spent $8.1 billion on Navteq, a maker of maps and turn-by-turn navigation hardware, software, and services. A lot of people thought that was overpriced at the time, but Nokia has been determined to remain a player in the mapping business.
The companies have been delivering on the agreement with various announcements all year leading up to the Windows Phone 8 launch.
That’s one of the reasons why Nokia didn’t go with Google’s Android operating system for smartphones: Google has Google Maps, which is a key part of the Android platform. Microsoft could offer Nokia distribution for maps not just on Nokia’s own smartphones but throughout the Windows empire—something Google just couldn’t budge on.
As Apple has shown with its decision to dump Google and build its own mapping service, mobile players have decided mapping is something you have to control. Microsoft doesn’t own Nokia—yet—but given Nokia’s all-in bet on Windows Phone, it might as well.
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