Apple could make a TomTom takeover bid: analyst

Apple could make a TomTom takeover bid: analyst

Summary: Apple could fix its iOS 6 Maps app woes by throwing a couple of billion dollars at TomTom, the Dutch supplier of navigation applications.

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TOPICS: Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad
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Apple has been in a bit of a hole since releasing iOS 6. The company's decision to give Google the boot in favor of its own mapping application has been the subject of widespread criticism. Not only did the switch mean the removal of features, but the mapping data itself has left a lot to be desired.

However, according to one analyst, Apple could be getting ready to solve this problem by making a bid for Dutch supplier of navigation applications, TomTom.

According to Hans Slob, an Utrecht, Netherlands-based analyst at Rabobank International, there is a 30 percent chance that Apple could pay as much as €10 ($13) per share for the company. This deal would be valued at over $2 billion, a lot of money, but a drop in the ocean for a company sitting on $121.25 billion cash pile.

"TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom," said Slob.

TomTom already supplies some mapping data to Apple, but a takeover would give the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant access to even more data, and a company that is well-placed to address the criticisms leveled at the Apple Maps app, and bring new features to iOS.

TomTom's stock has grown by 33 percent this year alone, valuing the company at roughly $1.18 billion.

Back in October, TomTom chief executive Harold Goddijn said that the company planned to remain independent following speculation that it might go private following an injection of cash.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad

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27 comments
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  • It thought Apple was already using TomTom data

    for it's map app.
    baggins_z
    • They are and lots of the errors are Tom-Tom based

      and Apple does not have the rights to change Tom-Tom's database. Buy the company, own the data.
      Bruizer
    • As the article says they are using SOME Tom Tom data

      Tom Tom will keep some of their data to themselves or otherwise noone would want to buy their devices. Most likely, Tom Tom licensed out their maps but kept their Point of Interest database to themselves. It's the point of interest database that is lacking in Apple's Maps.
      mog0
  • Smart move IMO.

    I think lots of the database issues are not Apple based but 3rd party based (like AU putting a town in the wrong location). Tom-Tom has areas were it is good and lots where it is bad. Apple simply needs to own the database and hire about 1000+ people making it clean.

    The UI on the iOS 6.0 maps app is actually top notch and makes Android maps look and feel old (sorry guys but true). That underlying database, however, while OK, is really needing some TLC and help as well as a way to actually submit changes that get put in as errors are found by users.
    Bruizer
    • iOS 6 maps has a fisher price UI

      "The UI on the iOS 6.0 maps app is actually top notch"

      No, it is actually terrible. The Nokia Maps app I have on my Lumia 920 is so much better than the Apple Maps app on my iPhone 4 (I'm talking solely about the UI, not turn-by-turn navigation which the iPhone 4 didn't get, even though Apple PROMISES that the iPhone 4 got the full iOS 6 upgrade).
      toddbottom3
      • I have used the Nokia map app on the Lumia.

        It is a UI disaster at the client side. The server side data is very good but tile rendering is a joke at best.
        Bruizer
        • I have used both, no comparison

          The iOS 6 UI is a disaster AND the server data is a disaster.

          "tile rendering is a joke at best."

          What does that have to do with anything? For 5 years, tile rendering was "the best" according to all the iOS fans. Suddenly, something that Apple advertised heavily for 5 years is "a joke".

          Rendering technology is not as important as what is being rendered. iOS uses a rendering technique to render a horrible, incomplete UI. Nokia Maps uses a rendering technique to render a fantastic UI, one that can even drill into different floors of malls.
          http://conversations.nokia.com/2012/07/16/nokia-leads-the-way-with-indoor-mapping/
          And it is seamless. There is no different app to go into or open, it just works right on the map.

          For you to defend Apple maps with "tile rendering is a joke" is like watching me pull your Chevy Volt out of the ditch with my powerful diesel truck and you complaining that "diesel engines are a joke, electric cars are so much newer and technologically advanced".

          Nokia's tile rendering end result absolutely blows away Apple's vector rendoring end result, and to the consumer, that is ALL that matters.

          Meanwhile, it is Apple maps that is a joke at best:
          http://www.macworld.com.au/news/the-onion-takes-humorous-stab-at-apple-maps-81608/
          toddbottom3
          • I have used both as well.

            The UI on the Nokia maps is simply not good. Zooming is awkward and translates horribly to the screen and the tile updating is simply bad on the Nokia maps.

            As I said, good server side data but really bad client side implementation. Apple got it the other way around.
            Bruizer
          • I have used both as well

            "Zooming is awkward"

            Now I know you are lying. Zooming on the Nokia Maps app on my Lumia 920 is pinch-to-zoom, no different from iOS. Sorry, there IS one big difference. When you zoom in on a mall, it shows you the stores inside the mall on the Nokia maps. Nokia maps for the UI, usefulness, AND server side data win.

            "tile updating is simply bad on the Nokia maps"

            You keep saying this. When I zoom in or pan on iOS, the map zooms or pans and redraws itself. When I zoom in or pan on Lumia, the map zooms or pans and redraws itself. The end user sees absolutely no difference, well, except for the fact that the Nokia maps are actually good.

            Your fuss about vector updating reminds me of an old story (not sure if it is true but it is relevant) about how the US spent millions of dollars coming up with a pen that could write in space while the Russians used a pencil. Was the US space pen more technologically advanced? Sure. Did it work better than the pencil? Nope.

            Apple's vector based maps have 0 advantages to the end user. It is a different method of accomplishing the EXACT same thing. Except that Apple maps CAN'T accomplish the exact same thing. Without good server data and without advanced features that ACTUALLY benefit the end user (like inside mapping) there is absolutely nothing positive to say about the joke that is Apple Maps. Actually, let me take that back. Apple Maps AREN'T a joke, they could literally kill you:
            http://apple.slashdot.org/story/12/12/10/039232/australian-police-warn-that-apple-maps-could-get-someone-killed
            toddbottom3
        • Agreeing with Todd Bottom

          Is not something I usually like to do, but sorry Bruizer, we gotta call a spade a spade. Nokia Maps is excellent. Apple maps is just the opposite.
          x I'm tc
          • Come on, the touch zooming is wonky on Nokia.

            The entire UI simply feels awkward at best.
            Bruizer
          • Yes, pinch-to-zoom is a wonky idea

            Gee, so glad that Apple Maps use lick-to-zoom.

            Wait, they don't. They use pinch-to-zoom.

            It is the Apple Maps UI that feels awkward. There is just something very odd about it. Nokia Maps UI is far better, their feature set is far better, and their server data is far better. Apple Maps? Actually, wonky is a great description for them.

            It isn't an exaggeration to say that Apple Maps is a "killer" app on iPhone:
            http://apple.slashdot.org/story/12/12/10/039232/australian-police-warn-that-apple-maps-could-get-someone-killed
            toddbottom3
          • Todd's World

            Why oh why Todd do you need to own the conversation? Every story is not about how smart you are. I disagree with lots of your sillyness but I don't crowd the comment section with my wisdom. (Which explains how you could still think you are so smart).

            Try this.... make a comment and resist the urge to make a discussion out of your comment.

            Love all, serve all!
            Insatiable Evony
  • Apple could make a TomTom takeover bid: analyst

    Wouldn't it be cheaper for Apple to just hire a few of the TomTom developers to fix their own maps that they have invested a lot of money into already? I don't see them buying TomTom, too costly.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • Not to mention a distinct lack of EU regulatory headaches.

      An Apple acquisition of TomTom would surely come along with "a bucket of hurt" from various European regulators making it expensive and prolonged, essentially neutralizing much of the benefit. Apple would be smart to make a "strategic investment" in TomTom with it's Braeburn Capital vehicle. It's faster, easier, and while you don't "get the milk for free", its still has many advantages over "buying the cow."
      matthew_maurice
    • Apple needs to make a bigger move than fixing their app

      Maps was a big failure for the company. To recover, they need to demonstrate not just that they have a functioning maps app, but rather that they, like Google, are in the maps business. Beyond fixing the maps debacle, buying TomTom puts Apple in an excellent position to extend iOS to yet another screen.
      RationalGuy
  • Is this suddenly a smart thing?

    Funny but whenever Microsoft buys a company, we always hear snarky comments about how this proves how much MS sucks because they can't come up with anything on their own.

    Suddenly though, this is a brilliant strategy.

    Fun facts: Apple had to purchase all of its touch technology from Fingerworks, it was unable to innovate any of that itself. Apple had to purchase all of its voice technology from Siri, it was unable to innovate any of that itself.

    So yet again, Apple proves how incompetent it is. Ping goes the Maps: Apple is better off letting others do the hard work and then come in and just buy them.
    toddbottom3
    • kidding me?

      What about Google they buy 100's of companies every year. Can the same be applied to them? They can't innovate either because they buy companies. You are simply a hater that does not think rationally. Look... no matter what you say, history will always remember that Apple reinvented the smart phone market, they reinvented the tablet market, as they did with music players. No matter how many times you say Apple sucks we all know that our smart phones are what they are today because of Apple. It is history and it is what people will always remember.

      Do companies buy other companies for technology. They ALL do. So what.
      johnsuarez10
    • iOS 6 maps has a fisher price UI

      Let me understand your thinking - rather than buy top nothed talent in -any- of the professional leagues, teams should hire those that they can train. Or, perhaps, it's a lot smarter not to buy a proven SYS AD but perhaps patiently educate and get up to speed the data entry operator.

      I suppose football teams show no competence in the way they run their business, and major IT centres get buy by letting others do 'the hard work' and then simply 'buy up the talent'.

      Seems to me that Apple might be better off not buying the comony, but investing in it - yet, in either case, there's no reason (except in alternative world or universe, perhaps) to re-invent wheels.

      Point of interest - do you grow your own veggies and raise your own meat and poultry, or do you find '... [your] better off letting others do the hard work and then come in and just buy them.'

      Just asking
      earljgray
    • LOL...seriously

      do you actually think that all the constant Apple bashing is going to distract people from the realization that your employer is failing in the consumer marketplace?
      CowLauncher