|To: tech101 who wrote (192)||11/3/2007 4:02:23 PM|
|Mapping the Road to Riches |
By Jay Palmer
Word Count: 555 | Companies Featured in This Article:
Garmin, TomTom, Navteq , Nokia, Sony
I'LL ADMIT IT: I'M OLD ENOUGH TO RECALL that the very first satellite-based personal navigation devices told you your location using only latitude and longitude. That may have helped seasoned mariners, but not those of us trying to find the best route to the mall. Luckily, today's navigation devices come loaded with detailed maps. Some even show you where you are via Google Earth-type satellite photos.
All of which explains why the two biggest makers of the devices, Kansas-based Garmin (ticker: GRMN, market value $22 billion) and its Dutch rival TomTom (TOM2, market value $6.05 billion), are facing off in ...
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|From: tech101||11/5/2007 2:26:49 PM|
|["Navigation is turning out to be the breakout data application wireless carriers have been looking for. A recent study by Nielsen Mobile, a San Francisco research firm, found that 13 million U.S. consumers have downloaded a navigation application to their phones. Moreover, of the $118 million in revenue generated from downloaded wireless applications, more than half came from navigation and location-based services."]|
Garmin and TomTom Vie for TeleAtlas
The two navigation-device makers are duking it out for ownership of the digital mapmaker. The loser risks being dependent on competitors
by Arik Hesseldahl
Digital maps are all the rage. Or so it seems from the surge in demand for suppliers of digital maps to navigation-device makers. Navteq (NVT) is being snapped up for about $8.1 billion by Finnish wireless-phone giant Nokia (NOK). And now TeleAtlas, a Dutch supplier of mapping data, is the object of a bidding war between Netherlands-based TomTom and Garmin (GRMN), which is headquartered in Olathe, Kan.
Three months after TomTom bid $2.8 billion for TeleAtlas, Garmin uncorked a surprise $3.3 billion offer on Oct. 31 that bests TomTom's by 15%. The following day, TeleAtlas gave TomTom five days to sweeten its offer.
An Intense Rivalry
Both suitors have a clear interest in landing TeleAtlas, one of only two digital map providers. Now that Navteq has gone to Nokia, whichever company loses TeleAtlas will rely on a rival for its mapping data. Garmin currently gets about 98% of its mapping data from NavTeq. "The world has changed over the last 90 days, and we didn't like the direction it was going," Garmin Chief Financial Officer Kevin Rauckman says of the period since TomTom's offer. "It could have potentially ended up being a difficult and awkward situation."
Awkward is putting it mildly. Garmin, with an expected $3 billion in sales this year, is the top U.S. maker of the personal navigation devices that motorists are scooping up in increasing numbers. But TomTom sells more units outside the U.S. And the competition between them has been white hot since TomTom attacked the U.S. market in 2006 (BusinessWeek.com, 8/28/06), landing shelf space with big retailers Best Buy (BBY) and Circuit City Stores (CC) and advertising aggressively on TV. Girding for attack on TomTom's home turf, Garmin has acquired distributors in Germany, Denmark, Italy, and Spain and has boosted marketing efforts, including buying advertising time during the Super Bowl. The two also have knocked heads over patents in the U.S. and European courts.
Now the two companies have a new rival in Nokia, which has sold more than 300 million mobile phones in the first three quarters of 2007 and intends to make navigation a feature on practically all of its phones in the coming years. Navigation-ready wireless phones already are starting to show signs of eating into the retail market for personal navigation devices, or PNDs (BusinessWeek.com, 9/14/07). Garmin, which focuses on automotive, marine, and recreational navigation devices, has sold 6.78 million units in that period. TomTom, which sells only automotive PNDs, has sold 5.3 million.
A Bidding War in the Offing
With the clock ticking on the TeleAtlas ultimatum, the bidding is likely to go higher. Executives with TeleAtlas had no further comment and TomTom executives did not return calls seeking comment. Rauckman suggests he's ready to go the distance: "We're pretty committed to our strategy of acquiring this company."
Analysts say Garmin has the needed firepower. "Garmin probably has more financial wherewithal to bid higher," says analyst Jonathan Braatz of Kansas City Capital.
How high? A serious response from TomTom would have to sweeten the pot by at least 10%, suggesting the price tag could go to $3.6 billion. So a second Garmin bid could easily reach $4 billion.
"They can both go higher, and they can both afford it," says David Niederman of Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore.
Some investors aren't so sure. Garmin's stock has dropped 17%, to $100.01, in the two days since it made the offer public.
Competing with Nav-Ready Phones
Should Garmin win, it will likely use the acquisition to build a raft of new products. Rauckman says, "We have a vision for much-improved mapping data. We want to make it even better with 3D mapping as that becomes available." Rauckman also suggests Garmin plans to compete with Nokia and other cell-phone makers on the wireless front. "As the market becomes more mobile, we'd like to add pedestrian-friendly content into the mapping and add some local searching capabilities."
The takeover craze in navigation data suppliers is likely to reach beyond map-data providers. Companies such as TeleNav and Networks In Motion, both relatively small, could become the next takeover targets. Both supply wireless carriers including Sprint (S), Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile (DT), and AT&T (T) with subscription-based navigation services that work with several wireless phones. Research firm iSuppli estimates that by 2011 some 440 million wireless handsets, or nearly one-third of those used worldwide, will be navigation-ready, representing a quadrupling of the number of nav-ready handsets in use in 2006.
And navigation is turning out to be the breakout data application wireless carriers have been looking for. A recent study by Nielsen Mobile, a San Francisco research firm, found that 13 million U.S. consumers have downloaded a navigation application to their phones. Moreover, of the $118 million in revenue generated from downloaded wireless applications, more than half came from navigation and location-based services.
The upshot for PND makers like Garmin and TomTom is that they have to embrace the ever-more-sophisticated wireless phone or risk a slowdown in sales of dedicated navigation devices. "They're going to have to adapt, either by making their own phones or owning the companies that supply the wireless carriers," says Sam Altman, CEO of Loopt, a Mountain View (Calif.) company that sells location-based software to wireless carriers. "Once you get good navigation on a device like an iPhone, do you really need a PND in your car?"
Hesseldahl is a reporter for BusinessWeek.com .
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|To: tech101 who wrote (195)||11/6/2007 11:39:11 AM|
|Why Microsoft Should Enter the GPS Space |
Dean Reese, November 05, 2007
The GPS device and GPS content space needs consolidation to survive. You have device makers Timble (TRMB), Garmin (GRMN) and Tom Tom and you have content providers Navteq (NVT) and Tele Atlas (TLATF.PK). As more handheld devices utilize GPS, the opportunities for device makers shrink while content becomes more of a commodity. In the end, some of these companies have to be absorbed to survive.
The events of the past month seem more like musical chairs than calculated strategic decision making. eBay's (EBAY) Skype quickly comes to mind.
Nokia (NOK) does not need Navteq – As I wrote before, this is a marriage headed for divorce. Nokia is the market leader. They need to stick to expanding their global market share.
Garmin does not need to be a cell phone maker – As I wrote before, this is not a core competency.
Garmin does not need Tele Atlas – Tele Atlas is the market leader, but why buy content when it is fast becoming a commodity?
Who can step up, bring the pieces together and build the next generation? Microsoft (MSFT). Garmin and competitor Trimble need a suitor and Microsoft would be a great fit for either company.
Why is Microsoft a good fit?
Microsoft wants and needs to expand their lines of business
Microsoft has the Microsoft Mobile Smartphone
Microsoft has a GIS/Mapping platform with the Virtual Earth and MapPoint products
Garmin’s software can run on the Microsoft Mobile Smartphone platform
Trimble already runs on the Microsoft Mobile Smartphone platform
Microsoft is hitting on all cylinders and the time is right. Does this seem too simple and logical? Yes.
Disclosure: Author holds a position in MSFT
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|To: tech101 who wrote (196)||11/7/2007 2:16:37 PM|
|I strongly disagree with the author that Navteq's business is headed towards commodity. It isn't a business that can crop up overnight with minimal funding like a Web2.0. |
Whoever wants to enter navigation services will have to license from Nokia or Tom Tom, if they set it up that way. Alternatively, if they're big or assume they will be big, they may save on licensing costs by taking a huge upfront hit in costs and time in generating the data themselves.
The only other way I could see is Google setting up a consortium of open source types to each individually contribute, aggregate the data, and ensure a strict wiki-like environment to try and control data integrity.
I strongly wish NOK didn't buy NVT.
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|To: jmiller099 who wrote (198)||11/20/2007 4:29:05 PM|
|Do we believe that our government will allow for the only two digital map companies to be owned by foreign nations with America left for nothing?|
We launched the satellites, we have GPS gears, but we will be left without software and data?
Will that happen? I don't believe.
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|To: jmiller099 who wrote (198)||11/20/2007 4:30:19 PM|
|The Paperless Map Is the Killer App |
WHAT'S NEXT -- TELECOM
NOVEMBER 26, 2007, BusinessWeek
Forget media downloads. Cell customers really want GPS and navigation features
First, cell phones made the streetcorner pay phone obsolete. Now they're doing away with the need to ask for directions. A surge in phones with built-in satellite navigation capability has sparked a wave of creative mapping and locating services. And it has set off a multibillion-dollar scramble by companies to buy up digital navigation technologies.
The number of navigation-ready cell phones will hit 162 million this year, or more than seven times the number of such devices sold for use in cars or other nonphone gadgets, says researcher iSuppli. You only have to scan phone company ads to see how they are touting navigational features: The new N95 smartphone from Nokia (NOK ) plays music and videos, but it also has a chip that receives signals from the government's Global Positioning System satellites, enabling the phone to display maps. Research In Motion (RIMM ) is already putting navigation features into its BlackBerry smartphones. Other big phonemakers including Motorola (MOT ) and Samsung are doing the same. Apple (AAPL ), having put a version of Google (GOOG ) Maps on its iPhone, is widely expected to add GPS chips and live mapping in 2008.
Phone carriers and software developers alike have been quick to offer location-based services that go way beyond simple street directions. Verizon's (VZ ) Chaperone service allows parents to track the location of kids from their phones or on the Web and sends a message when they reach their destination. Loopt lets Sprint (S ) and Boost Mobile customers track friends--imagine a buddy list overlaid on a map--and sends alerts when they're nearby. Services like those rang up $92 million in sales in the third quarter, or 58% of what consumers spent to download software to phones, Nielsen Mobile found. This spring, wireless users spent on average nearly twice as much on navigation as they did to download music to their phones, says David Gill, a Nielsen Mobile analyst.
To understand why phone-based navigation is suddenly so hot, talk with Debby Ramundo. The senior project manager at Seattle's Swedish Medical Center, Ramundo oversees 200 doctors and nurses who visit patients who can't travel to a doctor's office. Like millions of other people, clinicians are hard-pressed to get to the right place on time. That can be especially tricky in fast-growing Seattle, where new residential streets pop up out of nowhere. So last year the medical center handed out GPS-equipped Nextel cell phones. The phones offer such features as spoken turn-by-turn directions.
Such options until recently could be found only in $300-plus dashboard devices. The software, from TeleNav, a Sunnyvale (Calif.) company, costs each user $10 a month. But Ramundo says efficiency gains for medical workers more than offset the added costs: "Every hour they're not here in the office getting directions or getting lost is a billable hour they're out seeing patients."
THE GPS BANDWAGON
For years, satellite-based navigation technology was restricted to the military, which used it to position troops or guide missiles. The government purposely made GPS signals too fuzzy for civilians other than hikers or boaters to find useful. That changed in 2000, though, when civilians were given access to more accurate signals. An industry quickly sprang up for car-based navigation, which is a $6.8 billion business today, says iSuppli.
Now GPS phones are embedded with tiny chips that receive signals from the collection of 31 GPS satellites that blanket every inch of the Earth with a faint radio signal. A receiver needs to be within range of at least four satellites at once to determine its location accurately. That is drawn on-screen, matching latitude and longitude with maps sent via wireless Net connections.
As more players jump into navigation, it has triggered a wave of deal-making that reflects the nervousness of established players. Makers of car-based or other dedicated (nonphone) devices worry that competitors will gain control of essential mapping data, which show names and locations of streets, homes, restaurants, and hotels and must be regularly updated.
The two companies supplying that data, Chicago-based Navteq (NVT ) and Netherlands-based Tele Atlas, are now being rolled up. In July, one of the largest car-navigation outfits, Dutch concern TomTom, moved to acquire Tele Atlas for $2.3 billion. Stock in rival Navteq soared on the expectation it would be acquired by Garmin (GRMN ), TomTom's Olathe (Kan.)-based competitor, or perhaps Google or Microsoft (MSFT ), which operate mapping sites. But on Oct. 1 phone giant Nokia jumped in with an $8.1 billion deal to buy Navteq--a price nearly 14 times its $582 million in 2006 sales.
Faced with having to buy mapping data from a competitor, Garmin announced on Oct. 31 a hostile $3.3 billion bid for Tele Atlas. TomTom responded with a $4.3 billion offer. Garmin has until Dec. 4 to counter. The buyout binge isn't likely to end there. Analysts say possible targets include TeleNav, which supplies navigation software to carriers, and its rival Networks In Motion of Aliso Viejo, Calif. Also in the spotlight is Kirkland (Wash.)-based Inrix, spun off from Microsoft in 2004. It supplies live traffic data on 55,000 miles of U.S. roads. Its sole competitor, Traffic.com, was bought earlier this year by Navteq, and is becoming part of Nokia.
For navigation outfits that see Nokia as a competitor, that raised the possibility of losing access to traffic data as well as mapping data. So they're furiously signing agreements with Inrix, says President and CEO Bryan Mistele: "The last 120 days have been the best days in our company's history."
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|To: jmiller099 who wrote (198)||2/20/2008 2:15:18 PM|
|The Cheaper GPS Gets, the Better for NVT |
GRMN is knocked down 9% today with positive surprises on both revenue and profit thanks to the worries on price and competitions. However, the cheaper as GPS gets, the more maps will be sold, and NVT will benefit greatly since there are only two map producers in the world.
I just downloaded a N. America map for my Tomtom Go 720 I bought in UK last fall. The cost - 80 bucks, Ouch !
Updated from 1:36 p.m. EST on Feb. 19. Garmin is confirming its reputation as the Rodney Dangerfield of the stock market: No matter how well the company performs, it gets no respect. The stock is down 8% as I write, as investors react negatively to comments on the call that really shouldn't be a cause for concern. The results themselves were spectacular, with EPS of $1.31 beating Street estimates by 20 cents on revenue that doubled year over year. to $1.22 billion, well ahead of the $1.05 billion consensus. Adding fuel to the fire, management's 2008 guidance was positive, indicating revenue well ahead of the Street ($4.5 billion vs. $4.26 billion) and EPS "exceeding" the current consensus $4.40. Investor sentiment soured on the additional commentary on 2008. Management admitted (shocking!) that personal navigation devices are a competitive market and average selling prices should decline 20% next year. I...
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|To: tech101 who wrote (201)||2/20/2008 2:16:41 PM|
|THE TRANSFORMERS: CELLPHONES AS COMPUTERS|
Apple, Google drive changes in industry;
A FOCUS ON SOFTWARE
By CASSELL BRYAN-LOW
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ASIA
February 19, 2008
THE CELLPHONE INDUSTRY is undergoing one of the most dramatic periods of change of its 25-year history.
The reason: The mobile phone is morphing from a device that mainly makes calls into a tiny computer that combines the Web-browsing capabilities of a desktop PC with a host of services for on-the-go users.
A big catalyst for these changes comes not from the ranks of established industry players but from two relative newcomers, Apple Inc. and Google Inc. These companies bring with them expertise in the worlds of computing and the Internet and are helping spur sweeping changes, from the way mobile handsets look to the wireless services we use. They even are prompting traditional players to adapt their business models.
Computer maker Apple, which launched the iPhone in the U.S. in June and since has rolled it out in several European countries, said it sold four million iPhones globally through mid-January. With iPhone's sizable touch screen and easy Web browsing, some in the industry consider it one of the first devices to bring the full Internet to a cellphone.
Meanwhile, Google has teamed with a large group of mobile-handset makers, cellular carriers and other technology companies to make mobile-phone software, which is expected to hit the market in the second half. For several years, Google has made software applications that allow Internet searching via cellphones, but the new software will run the guts of the phone, known as the operating system, which controls applications and interacts with the hardware. The move could pave the way for mass-market cellphones that access advanced Internet services and carry its potentially lucrative advertising.
At stake is the direction of the $874 billion global cellphone industry, according to research concern Strategy Analytics Inc. There are roughly three billion mobile-phone users in the world, which is about half of the world's population. Apple and Google "have immense global influence," says Kang-Heui Cha, head designer of mobile phones at South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics Inc. "With their appearance, we can expect to have a lot more competition in the industry."
To be sure, Apple and Google face big challenges in the complex and already crowded wireless market, which is far from their respective core areas of expertise. Apple has launched only one handset design, while no handset maker has yet launched a cellphone based on Google's operating system. Their moves require heavy investment in time and management focus, and the companies need to navigate delicate relationships with cellphone carriers. The carriers are the key channels for cellphone distribution in many parts of the developed world, but they are nervous about losing turf in the brand battle over cellphone handsets.
Nevertheless, Apple's and Google's moves underscore a shift in focus within the cellphone industry to software from hardware.
"In terms of building a cellphone, it's becoming easier and easier from a hardware perspective," thanks to advancements in technology such as the ability to integrate functions on a single chip, says Andy Rubin, Google's senior director of mobile platforms. As a result, "more focus has been put on software," he said.
Many in the industry expect that one immediate benefit to consumers will be an improved choice of cellphones as established handset makers respond with new devices that are easier -- and more fun -- to use. Apple's sleek iPhone has raised the bar of consumer expectations, with its candy-colored icons and touch screen that lets users flip through songs and other content stored on the handset with a flick of a finger.
The iPhone has been "a kick up the backside" for the handset makers, says Matthew Key, chief executive of O2, Telefónica SA's European wireless unit. O2 is joining with Apple to sell the iPhone in the U.K. Christian Lindholm, director of Fjord PLC, a London-based wireless consulting firm, adds, "The benchmark now is the iPhone. Whatever experience is developed needs to outperform the iPhone."
As handset makers race to catch up, analysts say consumers can expect to see an increasing number of cellphones with iPhone-like features, such as larger screens for better Internet browsing and snazzier interfaces. "Everyone will try and mimic it," says Ben Wood, an analyst at wireless research company CCS Insight, of Solihull, England.
By bringing their understanding of computer software to mobile phones, Apple and Google could help spur developments in handsets. That could include the ability to search for contacts, photographs, emails and other contents stored on handsets in the same way consumers do these things on their personal computers with products such as Google Desktop Search.
"There are still tremendous amounts of innovation in a core phone operating system that needs to be done," Mr. Lindholm says.
While competition has stepped up, existing handset makers are benefiting from the increased attention paid to high-end mobile devices, thanks in large part to Apple's marketing machine around the iPhone's launch.
"The trend has been cheaper and cheaper phones; this is a real shot in the arm to some of the manufacturers," Mr. Wood says.
David Steel, a vice president of marketing in the mobile division of Samsung Electronics Co., the world's second-largest handset maker by market share, says the company has had higher-than-expected sales of its touch-screen handset, called F700, since its November launch in Europe. The iPhone "is helping consumers understand that they can access [on a mobile phone] the whole range of Internet services they are used to using," he said.
Analysts expect Apple and Google to spur a whole range of development in services that consumers can access on the go, as more people browse the Web on mobile devices. That could include the creation of personalized home pages or playing of sophisticated videogames, as well as mobile-specific services, such as turn-by-turn directions or searching for the nearest restaurant or hotel.
Google, with its plan to allow third-party developers to access tools to build additional features on top of its operating-system software, in particular could prompt an array of new features for cellphones. The software-developer community "is much more powerful" in generating new ideas than any software company or service provider, says Yves Maitre, head of devices at French-based carrier Orange, a unit of France Telecom SA.
Cellphone users also may see lower prices, but they'll have to put up with more advertising in exchange. That is because Google, with its Internet-advertising savvy, is rallying developments in cellphone advertising, which could be used to offset the cost of airtime or services such as downloads of music or video. Google executives have said cellular services or handsets could eventually be subsidized by revenue from the advertising consumers view on cellphones. Many in the industry believe the ability to track users' whereabouts makes mobiles a lucrative source of advertising revenue.
While analysts believe it could be a while before advertising revenue takes off, there already are signs of what is to be expected. A new British wireless provider called Blyk Ltd. offers consumers bundles of text messages and voice minutes free if they receive six advertising messages a day from dozens of companies, including Adidas AG and L'Oréal SA. Industry giants such as service provider Vodafone Group PLC and handset maker Nokia Corp. are experimenting with advertising, aiming to be better positioned against Google when mobile advertising does take off.
The arrival of the computing-world giants also is helping to spur changes in how some established companies view their business. Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, is pushing into Internet-related services such as music downloading and maps, the strongholds of Apple and Google, respectively. To do so, the Finnish handset maker has announced a string of acquisitions of companies in Internet-related niches, including the planned $8.1 billion acquisition of U.S. navigation-software maker Navteq Corp. Last month, Nokia restructured its organization to carve out a unit to focus on the new direction.
Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo says the company needs to be alert to remain competitive against new entrants that are taking on the industry with different strategies. "We are fighting battles against the traditional competition as well as the newcomers like Apple," he says. "It's not only one model, one competitor; it's many business models."
With the shift toward services such as Internet and navigation on cellphones, he said, "What we are going to experience now will be the biggest change the cellphone industry has ever experienced."
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp., which launched its first cellphone software in 2001, has accelerated efforts to broaden its reach from its traditional base of business customers to consumers. The U.S. software giant recently bought Musiwave, a company that provides music services to mobile operators and media companies, for $46 million. "We've given it more urgency and more weight" as a result of Apple's move into mobile phones, says Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft's mobile unit.
Microsoft also serves as a lesson in how hard it is to crack the mobile market; its efforts to get its software in cellphones has taken longer than it expected. One big challenge has been building ties with cellular operators, which, in many markets, control the distribution of handsets. Says Mr. Knook, "We have found there certainly is a balance between the experience you want to shine through to the end user and how much the operator wants to customize it."
Seven years after entering the market for operating systems in so-called smart phones -- which can send email, surf the Internet and download software such as videogames -- Microsoft held a 12.2% market share as of the third quarter of 2007, according to researcher Canalys.com Ltd., of Reading, England. That puts it in the No. 2 spot, behind Symbian Ltd., a U.K.-based consortium, of which Nokia had a 68.1% share.
Write to Cassell Bryan-Low at firstname.lastname@example.org
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