Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is paring down its operations big-time in the lead-up to using Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS for its new portfolio of smartphones. One thing that is staying behind, though, is the company’s mapping division, which is actually getting more work, as it becomes the default mapping and navigation platform for the WP7 “ecosystem.”
Another opportunity is also emerging for Nokia Maps: more partnerships for third parties to use its mapping technology in their content plays. One such deal got announced today, with the news network CNN.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it doesn’t appear to be an exclusive relationship, with Nokia joining “CNN’s roster of mapping providers,” according to the emailed release.
On the positive side, it will help Nokia raise the profile of the group: Nokia’s Navteq mapping division has not been its strongest card of late in terms of driving revenues, but it holds a lot of promise. In the last quarterly results, the company reported that maps pulled in only €232 million ($328 million) on overall sales of €10.4 billion ($14.7 billion). But it also reported the biggest operating margins of all the divisions: 23.3 percent compared to just under 10 percent on devices and services and 0.1 percent for Nokia Siemens Networks.
That speaks of a lot of potential if Nokia manages to grow that business in the right way, without costly partnerships that give it little in the way of financial returns.
For those who were looking out for it (I admit, I was looking more at Twitter and the TV), you might have noticed that CNN and Nokia already started working together on mapping collaborations several weeks ago, during Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding Adventure in London. One example was a rather cool arial map taking viewers through the day’s procession:
The partnership also includes CNN launching a Symbian version of their mobile app, which is now available in the Ovi Store.