TomTom, which has sold more than 10 million navigation devices, said on Monday it intended to make a cash offer of 21.25 euros per share for fellow Dutch firm Tele Atlas (TA.AS: Quote, Profile , Research), which also supplies online mapping Web sites Mapquest (TWX.N: Quote, Profile , Research) and Google Maps (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile , Research), as well as mobile phone maker Nokia
TomTom paid $2.5B - with a B.
Here's the killer app for GPS: Real time traffic data. If TomTom installed something that could integrate with a vehicle's controls and report back location and speed to TomTom, they'd be able to collect enough info to figure out where traffic jams are - in real time - with zero effort.
They could leverage this into a serious network effect marketing boost. Direction data is pretty much commodotized. But, traffic data is nowhere to be found and so much more important. I have 4 different highways I could take home. All pretty much the same distance. But, I have no idea which one will be clogged at a given time of the day. Imagine if they could then negotiate with google and aol's mapquest to syndicate that data: "Traffic information powered by TomTom". (More [daily] visits for websites. Marketing boost for TomTom) You could plot your route before you leave the office (whether you have TomTom or not). Then, if you had TomTom, you could get real time updates as you travel or go from appointment to appointment. That's a "WinWin" for everyone.
It'll be interesting to see what they pull off. Stay tuned for your TomTom Real Time Traffic Report at 6PM on FOX.