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After Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dumped Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) mapping application from its latest iOS update only to replace it with an inferior Apple-built navigation program, the mobile map space is wide open, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) are taking advantage of what may be their best chance to break into a market once dominated by Google.
Nokia Oyj is expected to announce a deal giving Oracle customers access to Nokia’s mapping services, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The deal may be announced as soon as Monday at the OracleWorld conference in San Francisco, a Nokia spokesperson confirmed to the newspaper.
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Nokia, which bragged about having the best map services in the space after Apple’s new app tanked last month, has been looking for ways to boost its location services business. The company also recently signed mapping deals with Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Nokia might do well to throw iOS users a bone — Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said last week that his company had no intention to build a Google Maps app for iOS users, while Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the shortcomings of his company’s own map app, suggesting that iDevice owners seek an alternative while Apple works out the kinks. All that means is that iOS users are without a reliable map app. While they can use the Safari browser to go to any number of websites offering directions, none will have the simplicity of an application built for mobile devices.
The market may not be open for too long — with a huge public embarrassment on its hands, Apple is sure to act quickly to rectify its blunder. While the deal expected to be announced today would apply only to Oracle customers, Nokia could potentially roll out its mapping services to a wider customer base in the near future.
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