4 reasons Apple should buy Nokia
The Finnish company's powerful maps and impressive patent portfolio have tech insiders daydreaming of an industry-changing acquisition
Nokia has seen better days. The Finnish phone maker continues to struggle to gain traction in a marketplace dominated by Apple and Android, and its new flagship device, the Windows-powered Lumia 920, failed to impress investors when it was announced last month, subsequently causing the company's stock to dive. Now, technology blogger and entrepreneur Tristan Louis argues that Apple ought to acquire the once-prolific phone manufacturer — even though Tim Cook's company is the very competitor responsible for Nokia's litany of woes. Here, four reasons Apple might want to dig into its deep pockets and buy Nokia:
1. Nokia has really powerful mapping technologyApple Maps isn't very good, and as a result, Apple has been feeling the heat from a critical tech press and an even more critical public. Nokia, on the other hand, has been doing maps "for a long time now, and they have access to even more data than Google," says Buster Heine at Cult of Mac. According to Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic, Google gets most of its mapping data from the 5 million miles driven by its Street View cars. But Nokia has a secret weapon: GPS data from FedEx and UPS trucks. UPS trucks drive 3.3 billion miles annually, giving Nokia a massive database. Simply put, says Cult of Mac's Heine: Nokia is "making great maps, they just can't make money off them, which makes them a great acquisition target for Apple."
2. Nokia has a treasure chest of patentsAs Apple's recent smackdown of Samsung proves, the future of the mobile space "will be dictated by the availability and ownership of patents," says Tristan Louis at his blog. Nokia has "quietly built" a "very strong and relatively young" portfolio of almost 16,000 patents around telecommunications in the U.S. alone, which would arm Apple with an intimidating array of next-generation technology. Indeed, just Nokia's exhaustive portfolio of patents might be worth as much as $6 billion to $10 billion.
3. Nokia could help with TVWhispers of a game-changing Apple TV, which in theory would sync with other iDevices, have long been ubiquitous in the tech world. But Nokia actually has "good technology for delivering live TV to wireless devices," says Bruce Upbin at Forbes. If Apple truly wants to dominate the TV arena, it'll have to beam shows and movies to iPhones or iPads in real-time. That's a field Nokia has some expertise in.
4. Microsoft would be toastMicrosoft has a lot riding on the release of Windows Phone 8, and Nokia is its primary launch partner. Buying the Finnish hardware manufacturer would "knock Microsoft on its heels," says Forbes' Upbin. "Assuming there wouldn't be any antitrust claims leveled by Microsoft (and wouldn't that be ironic) Apple could squelch whatever progress Microsoft has struggled to secure in mobile." Indeed, says Tristan, if Apple were to acquire Nokia, it'd be "something pretty close to a deathblow" for the house that Gates built.