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   Technology StocksNVT - Source of GPS Software, Data, and Maps


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To: jmiller099 who wrote (198)2/20/2008 2:15:18 PM
From: tech101
   of 211
 
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 !

secure2.thestreet.com.

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
From: tech101
   of 211
 
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 cassell.bryan-low@wsj.com

online.wsj.com

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From: tech1012/29/2008 8:31:36 PM
   of 211
 
Navteq may navigate smoothly by EC

by Scott Stuart
Updated 06:09 PM EST, Feb-28-2008

Market rumors that the European Commission's review of TomTom NV's acquisition of digital map company Tele Atlas NV is moving forward have raised hopes that the similar $7.7 billion merger of mapping company Navteq Corp. with Nokia Oyi could get past the European regulator without an extended review.

The TomTom-Tele Atlas deal was pushed into a second phase review Nov. 28, and the EC was expected to file its statement of objections this week. Risk arbitrageurs think that the issuance of the SO has been delayed for 10 days at the request of TomTom. The implication is that the company is offering some form of concession to address the concerns of the regulator, which would need to be market tested.

Arbs think this means the EC review of the Tele Atlas deal is moving along well, which in turn implies that Nokia's acquisition of Navteq could be approved swiftly.

Nokia and Tele Atlas announced their deal Oct. 10 and notified the EC under European Union antitrust regulations Feb. 19. The deadline for the first-phase review of that deal could be March 28.

Under the EC's rules, that could be extended 10 business days if the regulator is market testing undertakings proposed by Nokia.

Shares of Navteq have risen roughly $1 since Wednesday to $75.70 as it appeared that the close could come sooner than expected.

On Thursday, Navteq traded at a spread of $2.30, or 3%, to their $78 value under Nokia's all cash deal.

Navteq shareholders approved the merger Dec. 12, and it received early termination from U.S. antitrust regulators Dec. 5. The acquisition of Navteq cleared a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States on Dec. 6. The deal still hinges on the EC approval.

The transaction could also be subject to review in individual European jurisdictions, but the merger agreement provides that Nokia close the deal provided that such "foreign antitrust conditions" do not entail waiting periods or concessions that would impair the company's operations or result in substantial fines.

The deal, therefore, should be able to close when Brussels signs off.

Arbs have been scrutinizing the Tele Atlas review process in Europe for clues as to how the Navteq deal will proceed there. But there are reasons to think the Navteq deal could escape a phase-two review regardless of the outcome of the Tele Atlas deal, sources said.

Nokia is not a primary competitor in the market for personal navigation devices, as TomTom is, so that deal does not raise the same concerns as the tie-up between TomTom and Tele Atlas, where TomTom could in theory limit its access of competing navigation devices to digital mapping data. Moreover, Navteq entered an extended contract to provide such data to Garmin International Inc. in November when Garmin dropped its own bid for Tele Atlas.

TomTom is likely offering the EC assurances that it will provide similar long-term contracts with other PND providers, as Nokia proactively did, sources said.

The proxy for the Navteq deal reveals that, in early conversations, Nokia said that it planned "to run Navteq as a largely independent entity in view of the financial importance to Nokia of continuing to serve and grow the Navteq customer base."

That should placate competing device makers. TomTom's competitors could feel much more threatened.

thedeal.com

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From: tech1013/17/2008 11:40:18 AM
   of 211
 
ESRI Joins the NAVTEQ Network for Developers(TM) as a Zone Partner

Monday March 17, 10:20 am ET

NAVTEQ and ESRI Team Up to Provide Developers with Easy Access to Online Tools, Software and Support

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., March 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NAVTEQ (NYSE: NVT - News) a leading global provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, announced today from the ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference, the addition of the ESRI Zone within the NAVTEQ Network for Developers (http://www.nn4d.com) development program, nn4d.com. ESRI, a GIS software leader will now be a Zone Partner, enabling them to provide NN4D developers with access to a comprehensive environment for rapid application development, tools, documentation and support.The NAVTEQ Network for Developers provides registered members with a diverse assortment of valuable data and tools.

Simply by joining the free NN4D program, developers benefit from NAVTEQ® map data samples as well as industry-leading geospatial tools from ESRI and others for evaluation and development. Additionally, the site offers comprehensive technical information, market information, developer forums, frequently asked questions and e-mail technical support provided by both NAVTEQ and ESRI experts.

"Bringing the ESRI Zone to the NN4D combines the development resources of two industry leaders to the benefit of the developer community," said Marc Naddell, vice president, Partner and Developer Programs, NAVTEQ. "We believe that ESRI's powerful development tools, software and spatial analysis support combined with NN4D's comprehensive array of data samples and information will enable the development of next-generation, location-based solutions."

The NN4D is also directly collaborating with the ESRI Developer Network (EDN). EDN is a subscription program with a growing user base that offers developers the resources they need to create and prototype leading-edge and location-enabled applications on the ArcGIS platform.

"We're enthusiastic about joining the NAVTEQ Network for Developers community," stated Jack Dangermond, president, ESRI. "By collaborating with NAVTEQ, we hope to make it easier for developers to obtain access to data and geospatial software platforms and tools."

Both NAVTEQ and ESRI are active champions of the developer arena. In 2003, NAVTEQ launched the first NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge®, which has helped invigorate the market by accelerating the delivery of new location-enabled wireless applications. This industry-leading competition, which ESRI continues to support as a sponsor, offers a prize pool of up to $3,000,000 including cash and data license fees from NAVTEQ. More information regarding the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge can be found at lbschallenge.com.

NAVTEQ will be exhibiting at the ESRI Business Partner Conference from March 15 through March 18, 2007 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, Booth #7.

biz.yahoo.com

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To: tech101 who wrote (204)3/17/2008 11:41:20 AM
From: tech101
   of 211
 
messages.finance.yahoo.com

Re: No knee-jerk, 1 of 2 things will happen....

17-Mar-08 09:42 am

Fly on the wall was attributing comments to American Technology Research's analyst Rob Sanderson. Basically he said that if the deal didn't go through (and he thinks it will) NVT would actually be worth more.

I feel the same way. If you look at the last earnings release these guys are generating real dollars and if you believe modest earnings growth of 30% in 2009, with an concensus estimate of around 2.92 a 37x multiple gets you at $91 bucks. Looks to be like classic win-win, I either get the deal, or deal's off and I get more money.

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From: tech1013/17/2008 11:52:47 AM
   of 211
 
Quaero: That's What the EU Does With All That Microsoft Money?!

seekingalpha.com:80/article/68658-quaero-that-s-what-the-eu-does-with-all-that-microsoft-money?source=d_email

posted on: March 16, 2008 | about stocks: GOOG / MSFT

Now I get it - The EU takes money from the Microsoft ATM with one hand, and then invests it in a sure-to-fail “Google Killer” with the other.

€99 million to Thomson and 22 other European companies to create Quaero, a multimedia search engine (Danny Sullivan notes Thomson was already in this business and then sold it off). This is on top of €120 million approved last year for Germany’s Theseus research project, which will develop and test new search technologies for the Internet.

Quaero and Theseus were originally the same project, but split in 2006 to focus on their respective markets.

The projects will need lots more funding down the road, so look for more withdrawls from Microsoft. And if that well runs dry, they can always figure out something to charge Google with and get a little of that action, too.

Of course, I’m stretching the facts here to make a point. The EU is simply allowing the French and German governments to make these investments with their own taxpayer’s money. There is no direct link between Microsoft fines and these subsidies. But the point is the same - the EU is not willing to let free markets determine winners and losers. The winners must be home grown, at any cost. And U.S. companies that have too much success in Europe seem to face a bleak choice - massive fines or government-backed competitors. It’s absurd.

And it’s no wonder that many of the best European entrepreneurs keep coming to the U.S. to start companies.

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From: tech1013/18/2008 7:46:39 PM
   of 211
 
[The EC may deny the merge of Tomtom/TeleAtlas while letting Nokia acquire the crown jewel.

At this time, the entire European and American maps can be stored in a fresh memory card the size of a small fingernail. In a few short years, standalone PDA/GPS will disappear and the mobile phone market is the real battlefield. Every cellphone will come with GPS with digital maps produced by NVT, or TeleAtlas good or bad. Without controlling the digital maps, Nokia will soon lose to the competitions from all the Asian competitors.]

ft.com

Tele Atlas: Tomtom has deadline today to reply to EC objections about confidentiality, partial foreclosure and efficiency

By Ben Bschor in Brussels

Published: March 17 2008 16:20 | Last updated: March 17 2008 16:20

This article is provided to FT.com readers by dealReporter—a news service focused on providing insightful intelligence on event driven situations to investors. www.dealreporter.com

TomTom, the manufacturer of personal navigation devices (PNDs) has had until today Monday, 17 March, to submit a reply to concerns raised by the European Commission (EC) on its takeover of Tele Atlas, the digital mappings company, dealReporter understands.

Meanwhile it is understood that the statement of objections (SO), issued by the EC at the end of February, focuses on three key areas of concern: confidentiality, partial foreclosure and the efficiency argument brought forward by the merging parties.

On confidentiality, the concern is that Tele Atlas would inevitably lose customers – that is PND manufacturers directly competing with TomTom - as there would be a lack of confidence in the market that customer secrets are being kept away from TomTom.

In terms of partial foreclosure the EC is worried that Tele Atlas would have an interest to degrade the quality of maps supplied to external customers compared to the products provided to TomTom.

In the context of these arguments, the EC believes that a takeover of Tele Atlas by TomTom would in fact strengthen Tele Atlas’ only serious rival, Navteq. Navteq is currently also in the process of being taken over by a hardware manufacturer, Nokia. But unlike TomTom, Nokia is first and foremost a mobile phones manufacturer and not focused on PNDs.

Following an argumentation described in article 38 of the EC guidelines on the assessment of non-horizontal mergers, partial foreclosure and confidentiality concerns regarding a merged TomTom/Tele Atlas could play into the hands of Navteq. The assumption is that in a market that is seen as oligopolistic, customers can only turn to Navteq if confidentiality concerns drive them away from Tele Atlas. Therefore competitive pressure on Navteq would be reduced which would result in increased prices for Navteq products.

Finally the Commission is said to have doubts in the efficiency argument brought forward by TomTom and Tele Atlas in favour for the takeover. In general terms, TomTom and Tele Atlas are believed to have argued that only the merged entity was able to fully optimise the use of data fed back by the end users to the suppliers. But it is believed that the EC, while not generally dismissing the potential to optimise PND products by utilising customer feedback, is not convinced that such goals can only be achieved in a merged company.

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From: tech1013/20/2008 12:41:29 PM
   of 211
 
messages.finance.yahoo.com

EU to approve TomTom/Tele Atlas deal; look at Nokia/Navteq more closely - source
March 19, 2008: 11:38 AM EST

ht*p://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/arti...

I found nothing "official" at the European Commission websites to substantiate the "source". TomTom offer for Tele is 30 Euro cash and Tele currently trades at at 22 Euro ~33% discount. Tele apparently trades on the pink sheets under TLATF, but the volume - and thus liquidity - looks to be extremely low or even non-existant. Intraday had a decent bounce and some retracement.

ht*p://www.euronext.com/trader/summarize...

ht*p://pinksheets.com/pink/quote/quote.j...

Any experience purchasing foreign stock on a foreign exchange with Schwab. I haven't called them yet, but if anyone has any experience I like to hear your two cents worth.

messages.finance.yahoo.com

I owned both Tom Tom and Tele Atlas via the following tickers (through Etrade):
Tom Tom TMOAF
Tele Atlas TLATF
The prices on these dont reflect the changes since the last trade, and they dont trade often...

Type those tickers into the Etrade (dont need an account) quote box and you get the graph, quote etc. Essentially, these are ADRs (slightly different, but essentially the same). Volumes are small, and you HAVE to use a limit order.
You can get the european quotes using:
TTM.AS
TA.AS

Look up the exchange rate for the currencies (Euro I believe), apply to the .AS quote and you get your limit order amount. It works!

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To: tech101 who wrote (208)3/20/2008 12:43:05 PM
From: tech101
   of 211
 
EU to approve TomTom/Tele Atlas deal; look at Nokia/Navteq more closely - source

March 19, 2008: 11:38 AM EST

BRUSSELS, Mar. 19, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- The European Commission is expected to approve personal navigation device manufacturer TomTom NV's proposed acquisition of map maker Tele Atlas NV and open an in-depth inquiry into Finnish mobile telecoms group Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Oyj's planned buy of digital map maker Navteq (NYSE:NVT) Corp.

A legal source told Thomson Financial News that the TomTom/Tele Atlas deal should be cleared on or before the deadline of May 5, even though there are 'clearly vertical competition concerns'.

The commission opened an in-depth inquiry into the deal in November after its initial market investigation indicated that the proposed merger raised serious doubts with regard to vertical competition concerns. Since then, the commission extended the deadline for the inquiry at the parties' request.

'This seems to be a concentrated market at upstream level and access to data will be a key issue in terms of remedies,' the source said.

'The commission obviously has suggested serious concerns (about the deal) but they should be addressable through making data available to third parties.'
The source said the key factor in negotiations over potential remedies will be assessing how to preserve the companies' value.

A possible remedy could be the sale of data which could devalue the company, the source said.

An Amsterdam analyst said earlier that he would find it difficult to defend spending 3 bln eur on a database company, if its intellectual property had to be given away.

The legal source noted that the commission would probably open an in-depth investigation into Nokia's proposed 8.1 bln usd acquisition of Navteq as competition issues would be similar to those in the TomTom/Tele Atlas deal.

Analysts were even confident at the opening of the TomTom/Tele Atlas inquiry that the commission would clear the transaction.

ABN Amro's (NYSE:ABN) Wim Gille said he did not believe the extended review would cause any problems for TomTom.

'Based on the conversations we had with TomTom, Garmin, Tele Atlas, Navteq and several other market participants, based on public statements made by Nokia and Mio, based on the deal structure (vertical integration, operated at arm's length), (and) based on the consensus expectation that the combination would benefit the end user, we do expect this deal will eventually be closed,' the analyst said.

Another Amsterdam-based analyst agreed, saying: 'It's impossible to judge exactly what the EU will do in this case, although it does seem highly likely to us that approval will be given and TomTom will walk away victorious.'
TomTom's chief executive Harold Goddijn told journalists in December he was confident the EU executive would approve the deal.

The CEO said he thought the commission would have approved the deal in a phase I inquiry if Nokia had not bought Navteq, and added that the extension of the inquiry into phase II was intended mainly for the commission to further familiarise itself with the market.

'There is already a duopoly in effect,' Goddijn said.

Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2008. All rights reserved.

The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.

money.cnn.com

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From: tech1014/9/2008 11:47:03 PM
   of 211
 
businessweek.com

It doesn't help that handset makers can offer big subsidies, adding to price pressure. "Nokia's ultimate goal is to make navigation in mobile phones as ubiquitous as cameras," Wood says. "The challenge for TomTom is they sell into the standard retail channel where subsidies are not available."

Nokia plans to include navigation features in roughly half of its phones in the next two to four years, Wood says. And while TomTom will sell 14 million to 15 million devices this year, Nokia will sell some 400 million phones this year, roughly half of which will be navigation-ready.

Consumers bought more than 22 million PNDs in 2007 and are expected to buy more than 32 million this year, says Richard Robinson, an analyst at market research firm iSuppli. But the average selling price on a PND in 2007 was $249, less than half the 2004 average of $505. Margins are slipping, too. "These companies got used to making profit margins of 45% to 60% during the 2004 to 2005 time frame," Robinson says. "Now they're having to contend with margins that are closer to 18% to 20%. That's not ringing well with the financial guys. The problem is you can only make so much on each unit you sell."

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