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"There are only four sources of high-quality maps," Google, Waze, Navteq, and TomTom (TMOAF.PK),...

"There are only four sources of high-quality maps," Google, Waze, Navteq, and TomTom (TMOAF.PK), says Rolfe Winkler, and given Facebook's rumored $1B acquisition of Waze, TomTom may become an attractive takeover target for the likes of Apple (AAPL) and others who, while able to drive a hard bargain on map licensing fees, may prefer to bid for the Netherlands-based company rather than worry that a rival will acquire it. TomTom trades at an EV/EBITDA ratio of just 6x. (From December: Rabobank puts AAPL/TomTom odds at 30%)
Comments (32)
  • Paradox
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Why settle for just TomTom? AAPL buys NOK and they get Navteq plus a brand portfolio extension downmarket usable for price wars, emerging market penetration, etc. MSFT might actually prefer a stronger partner for Windows Phone. NOK market cap certainly no impediment.
    18 May 2013, 12:20 PM Reply Like
  • J Mintzmyer
    , contributor
    Comments (3738) | Send Message
     
    I'm a NOK long and used to toss around the idea of a MSFT takeover, but I don't think it would work. Very socialist country with embedded labor/control laws, etc. I seriously doubt AAPL would want anything to do with NOK...
    18 May 2013, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • Paradox
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Agree actual transaction a long shot, but thought experiment still interesting. Strategically AAPL constrained by brand positioning. A brand pathway to get some product lines at lower price points would help. Also, the stranded offshore cash needs a use that lets them graduate from a US-centric to true multinational firm. NOK might not be the play, but AAPL needs to grow up. Long AAPL.
    18 May 2013, 04:58 PM Reply Like
  • CMacintosh
    , contributor
    Comments (106) | Send Message
     
    the Maps function on my iPhone5 is DREADFUL, they definitely need to purchase a more reliable service. BTW I live in Los Angeles, not exactly a tough place to 'map out'
    18 May 2013, 12:20 PM Reply Like
  • HCWHunter22
    , contributor
    Comments (69) | Send Message
     
    That's funny, the Maps app on my iPhone 5 in L.A. and surrounding areas is outstanding, and certainly comparable to Google maps. I was fine with Google maps but the turn by turn is nice now. Of course other areas of the US and abroad have had problems, but I haven't had any here.
    18 May 2013, 08:17 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2208) | Send Message
     
    Yep, I can say the same for the western states! It's become an unwarranted meme that just won't die, ... iOS maps is fine, and others work too, but I prefer the combo of iOS and Waze (traffic)
    18 May 2013, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • imac007
    , contributor
    Comments (544) | Send Message
     
    Interesting comments from Waze CEO about Apple Maps quality. Not what you might expect. http://bit.ly/1158Hpz
    19 May 2013, 01:14 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2208) | Send Message
     
    nice link imac!

     

    interesting how macrumors - link - comments mirror those on SA some like iOS maps and some like Google. One commenter put it best, "once an app gets labeled as bad, <its hard to shake that image>" ... another suggested that what led to iOS being palatable was the inclusion on Waze data with Tom Tom's. Shoot maybe the real play is Apple buying Waze and Tom Tom.

     

    I agree with Bardin, hands down Waze is the best if you need real time traffic data.
    19 May 2013, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • trombenik
    , contributor
    Comments (20) | Send Message
     
    I use Waze whenever I'm in the car. I'm usually a passenger, so I can interact with it extensively. I don't know if an acquisition by FB will keep me there, though, because I think FB (and Google) are too intrusive.
    18 May 2013, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2208) | Send Message
     
    yep me too, I was hoping Apple would buy Waze for the traffic
    18 May 2013, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • bmwr1200c
    , contributor
    Comments (196) | Send Message
     
    what happened to Garmin ???
    18 May 2013, 01:31 PM Reply Like
  • mr wonder
    , contributor
    Comments (546) | Send Message
     
    @ bmwrt1200c

     

    As I understand, Garmin is using maps from Nokia (Navteq).
    18 May 2013, 01:48 PM Reply Like
  • Uncle Pie
    , contributor
    Comments (3201) | Send Message
     
    Why couldn't Apple just license Tomtom's mapping technology, if they like it? Why would they need to buy the whole company?
    18 May 2013, 01:31 PM Reply Like
  • BTM
    , contributor
    Comments (385) | Send Message
     
    They already do license TomTom.

     

    http://engt.co/16Gnu2p
    18 May 2013, 03:30 PM Reply Like
  • FentAndMidaz
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    "Because it's buyable!" in my best GG impression
    19 May 2013, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • Tales From The Future
    , contributor
    Comments (5216) | Send Message
     
    Waze is crowd-sourced mapping, doesn't make sense to compare them directly to other companies mentioned.
    18 May 2013, 01:41 PM Reply Like
  • css1971
    , contributor
    Comments (870) | Send Message
     
    Waze? Indeed. Comprehensive they are not.

     

    In terms of companies, mapping is Google, Nokia and TomTom. That's it.

     

    Oh and Apple but they just use TomTom data.
    19 May 2013, 05:49 PM Reply Like
  • milehr
    , contributor
    Comments (509) | Send Message
     
    Which service is Apple using now? If it is their own, there is no reason to buy anything. Whatever problems Apple maps may have now (and they are not as bad as some portray), it is probably much cheaper to simply fix them.
    18 May 2013, 02:04 PM Reply Like
  • Davidoff
    , contributor
    Comments (314) | Send Message
     
    Apple decided to use their own programming codes and data in Plans, but they leased TomTom's maps, graphics, 3D images, guidance, etc. So basically, everything that people liked about Plans came from TomTom and everything that they hated came from Apple.
    19 May 2013, 09:16 AM Reply Like
  • Solomo
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    As a longterm investor in TomTom I'd like to comment.

     

    Apple is now licensing data from TomTom as part of their maps offering, but they are also using other sources, differing per country. In the gps industry it is well known that Apple had problems in merging different data from different sources. Where TomTom data are accurate, Apple's are mostly not. It's not Apple's partners but Apple's lack of expertise that's part of the problem.

     

    Even Google says that maps are very hard to do well, and they've spent billions on maps for years (where Apple is just starting) so they should know.

     

    From what I've heard in the industry large corporations like Google, Apple, et all have difficulty partnering. Waze also claims large Silicon Valley firms need to learn to partner. They tend to (be a little arrogant) and do things on their own (or acquire technology) rather than depend on third parties for deep integration into their services.

     

    Also, I wouldn't call Waze a large global professional mapmaker. They're in this business for just a few years with limited resources and their maps are so-so at best. They don't own any mapping vans (like Google, TomTom and Nokia have) to check crowdsourced data and add additional information like speedlimits, roadmarkings, etc.

     

    I would say Google, TomTom and Nokia are the only THREE mapmakers on a global scale.

     

    I doubt TomTom's founders, who own 48% of the shares want to sell their company at the current marketcap or even 200% of that. They'd rather grow their business first.

     

    In a standalone scenario a bull scenario would be Apple acknowledging that maps is not their area of expertise and start to licence more services from tomtom. Not only some maps, but maps on a global scale and also their new routing software.
    19 May 2013, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • jakexb
    , contributor
    Comments (94) | Send Message
     
    They're using quite a bit of TomTom data in the US. I'm sure they've at least considered attempting to buy the company.

     

    Apple Maps biggest problems are finding points of interest based on a name. Despite the press, the map data itself is actually pretty good.
    18 May 2013, 03:41 PM Reply Like
  • Solomo
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    True
    19 May 2013, 07:44 AM Reply Like
  • slerickson01
    , contributor
    Comments (113) | Send Message
     
    Yea the app is nice but for reliably getting you to your destination it's awful.
    18 May 2013, 07:42 PM Reply Like
  • Solomo
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    What makes TomTom interesting is their list of customers. Apple wants to be in cars. Acquiring TomTom means buying themselves into these carmakers.

     

    TomTom customers include: Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, HTC, MapQuest, Mercedes, Toyota, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Audi, BMW, Opel, Lexus, Qoros (China), Mazda and Fiat.

     

    Some contracts with carmakers are already signed but delivery will be in the future when a specific model hits the market. Which means automotive revenue and ebit are not yet at their full potential, but expected to grow.

     

    Some of those car manufacturers are buying full tomtom systems, some are using 'components', like only maps and points of interest, routing software or traffic information. Check automotive.tomtom.com for more info.
    19 May 2013, 07:44 AM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2208) | Send Message
     
    what's the map data in a Tesla Model S, do you know?
    19 May 2013, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • Dutch Trader
    , contributor
    Comments (1191) | Send Message
     
    Apple's is mentioned a lot as possible take over target.
    http://seekingalpha.co...
    19 May 2013, 07:45 AM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2208) | Send Message
     
    @DT, ... You know that's a 9/2012 link? You mean Tom Tom is mentioned as a takeover target, eh?
    19 May 2013, 05:49 PM Reply Like
  • Dutch Trader
    , contributor
    Comments (1191) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I know the link is very old. I already wrote several times about this company. I just want to mention that acquisition rumors are coming your way every single year since 2009. Twice a year a story pops up that TomTom could be bought by Apple, Yahoo, and some other candidates.
    20 May 2013, 05:45 AM Reply Like
  • deercreekvols
    , contributor
    Comments (6015) | Send Message
     
    My wife and I have a Garmin in our vehicles. We use these far more than the maps app on our iPhones.
    This being said, I have never had an issue with Apple's map.

     

    Google maps still shows that my house hasn't been built yet! The house is 2 1/2 years old and shows up on Apple's map. In google's defense, I am sure that there is not a push to remap south-western New York anytime soon.
    19 May 2013, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • Patent News
    , contributor
    Comments (1327) | Send Message
     
    Nokia will not be bought by Microsoft.

     

    Why would Apple want TomTom?

     

    too overpriced.
    19 May 2013, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • francescocmazza
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    I just wish AAPL used part of the 60 BLN to make such purchases instead of wasting that caso on share repurchase
    19 May 2013, 07:46 PM Reply Like
  • CLAUDE SEGUY
    , contributor
    Comments (26) | Send Message
     
    Having been with Apple as a user and an investor, and very content with my TomTom device that functions in North America and Europe, I feel like some association between these two great companies would offer a lot of benefits.
    19 May 2013, 07:47 PM Reply Like
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