F Axel Schmidt (Photo: Accenture)

Following news that Audi, BMW and Daimler are set to jointly acquire Nokia HERE, automotiveIT asked Accenture automotive expert Axel Schmidt three questions about the implications of the transaction.

automotiveIT: What's in it for Audi, BMW and Daimler to acquire Nokia HERE?

Schmidt: The carmakers are first and foremost interested in a platform that can be the foundation of a range of individual and location-based services. If they are successful, they will be able to secure a big chunk of the newly growing market for mobile data-based services. By pledging to make this platform available to everyone, the companies show that they understand the need for scale.

automotiveIT: Is the acquisition also meant to send a signal to Google and Apple?

Schmidt: HERE is not just interesting for its maps. The automakers are clearly looking at user-based services in the field of networked mobility. With HERE, they will be able to score points against Google or Apple with their own offering.The Nokia deal shows that the carmakers understand that there is a competitive situation vis-a-vis US technology companies.

automotiveIT: Are we going to see more acquisitions by carmakers of innovative IT companies in future?

Schmidt: We are seeing such acquisitions in all industries that are heavily affected by digitization. They help to quickly develop and bring to market new products and offerings. Because development cycles are traditionally long in the car industry, automakers are at a disadvantage when they compete with fast-moving IT companies. When it comes to networked mobility, two different worlds collide. The engineering-driven approach of the auto industry is a big disadvantage in the development of data-based services. Digital companies are much more agile. Automakers can only close this gap through acquisitions or close cooperations with, for example, real-time data analysis or location-based services specialists. That's particularly the case  when they want to build platforms. Often it's not crucial to acquire the company with the best technical solutions. It's much more interesting to look at big user bases and access to the data pool.