Over the years, smartphone vendors have been busy paying top dollar for location-related companies. Apple, for example, who previously told the world to "get lost" with their own-branded maps and navigation services, recently bought Locationary and Embark, to begin bringing more maps talent and code in-house.
Yet in the on-going location frenzy, TomTom and Tele Atlas were left alone -- and rather unloved. Many industry and Wall Street analysts (and I) have predicted that TomTom would be bought out by someone. Apple, Toyota, Microsoft. Somebody. But this hasn't happened yet.
Now this leads one to question the value of digital maps altogether. Has maps data been so commoditized by Google and crowd-sourced approaches that complete collections are worth practically nothing? I have to admit that I'm not sure what's going on here. Perhaps all the value has moved up the stack to services that run on top of maps.
So far for TomTom, the journey has not been much of a reward. Will anyone find value here?
Verdict: TomTom is hands down a loser in the location frenzy.