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Nokia starts to cull mapping competition – forces Nav4All to cease trading


Hot on the heels of its successful roll-out of the free Ovi GPS navigation service in 10 countries – with over 1 million downloads in a week – it looks as though the Finnish giant is embarking on a campaign to destroy rival services.

Popular free GPS navigation service Nav4All has just sent an email message to its 27 million customers shuttering the service after 5 years of operation. The reason? The owner of the international maps they use, Navteq (100% owned by Nokia) has refused to renew their license.

Now this could be complete coincidence of course, or it could be the first salvo in what could get messy, as the world’s map owners start to clamp down on competition as fast as their lawyers can get to work. TomTom’s purchase of TeleAtlas a few years ago means the two top mapping services are now in the hands of hardware providers, which leaves the road open to much more of this kind of commercial abuse.

If I was an executive in Garmin, I’d not be sleeping very well at all right now. But the main point is the fact that we’re likely to end up with a choice of just three navigation companies, Nokia, Google and TomTom if this continues, which will not be good for the consumer. Companies like AmAze, Magellan, CoPilot, Destinator and Route66 may soon disappear altogether as the map owners shut them down one by one.

Hmm…maybe now’s the right time to start contributing to the Open StreetMap project to try and avoid such an unhealthy future?

 It is with the deepest regret that we hereby notify you that the global navigation of Nav4All and the Tracking & Tracing will go offline in 3 days. The reason for the same is that the data licence agreement with Navteq (a 100% Nokia subsidiary) was not extended, in a totally unexpected manner. It is not possible to implement data from another supplier in our Nav4All systems within the short term. The Nav4All navigation system was developed for Navteq data. Nav4All has therefore been constrained to stop.

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