HERE CEO: ‘It will be Google versus us in car navigation market’
Edzard Overbeek, CEO of Amsterdam headquartered HERE Technologies, is quite confident about his business: “ultimately it will be Google versus us in the navigation market.”
Naming the other Dutch high-definition map maker, TomTom, Overbeek avoids carefully in talking with newspapers, Financieele Dagblad and De Tijd, in the margin of a congress held last week by Belgian business school, Vlerick.
Of both Dutch map makers HERE, owned by Daimler, BMW and Audi, claims to have the largest market share in car navigation with more than 100 million cars equipped with its technologies and making there 70% of its 1,1 billion euro turnover.
‘Dashboard battle’ with Google
TomTom follows on a distance in onboard car navigation systems, but lost part of that business from Renault-Nissan and Volvo to Google last months, which caused a shock wave in the automotive sector.
With Google, a giant with its Google Maps, stepping in, car manufacturers feared to lose ‘the dashboard battle’ in controlling the client data, to Silicon Valley tech giants, like Google or Apple, already dominating the smartphone market with their software.
Different business model
Edzard Overbeek, who came over from network tech company Cisco in 2016, and won his spurs in the IT sector there, is not afraid, though. He sees a whole different business model behind the maps that Google and Apple use, based on targeted advertising once the client is located.
Another difference are the high-definition maps, being updated in real-time, HERE (and TomTom e.n.) is working on today. HD maps that offer far more details than Google Maps today. These maps are essential for the development of the fully autonomous car Overbeek sees to become reality within the next ten years.
Two dominant players
He believes ultimately there will be room for one more dominant player next to Google in the car market. With HERE being the current market leader on that domain, Overbeek believes the company is best placed to take that position.
Overbeek avoids direct commenting on his Dutch challenger, TomTom, and points that making HD maps in real-time is very complex and capital-intensive. It requires ‘scale and partners with deep pockets’ – which HERE has plenty of – to finance it.
‘No comment’ on TomTom rumours
About the rumours that surfaced in the US of HERE being a possible candidate to take over TomTom, Overbeek simply says ‘no comment’. His Dutch colleague, Harold Goddijn, of TomTom was as ‘talkative‘ about those rumours earlier this week.
HERE itself has quite a history of changing ownership. Building on the legacy of American digital map pioneer, NAVTEQ, which was first bought by Dutch Philips in the early nineties, it became part of Finish phone maker, Nokia, in 2007.
From the Philips era an important development site in Eindhoven remained. From Nokia, who first renamed it to Nokia Maps, it got its current name HERE later ( in 2012).
In 2015 Nokia (acquired by Microsoft) sold HERE to the consortium of German car manufacturers who still own the majority of shares today. Other big names joined later with a minority share: German automotive suppliers, Bosch and Continental, and US chip maker Intel.