Free Maps From Google and Nokia Drive Vodafone To Shut Down Wayfinder


Credit: Engadget

The first victim of the free navigation wars: Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) is shutting down Wayfinder, the Swedish mapmaker it purchased for $30 million in late 2008.

It was the carrier’s goal to use Wayfinder to provide directions to both drivers and pedestrians, while overlaying location-based advertising to alert users to nearby restaurants or shops. The carrier planned to start embedding mapping applications on devices this summer with a location-based advertising trial coming soon after. But according to a report in a Swedish publication, Vodafone has decided to close down the whole operation, Engadget reports.

Clearly, the market has gotten a lot more complicated since Vodafone’s acquisition. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) both started offering free maps with turn-by-turn navigtation services on phones, and much more entrenched competitors, like TomTom and Garmin, are struggling because of it. Vodafone’s Anna Cloke tells Engadget: “We could not charge for something that others gave away for free.”



It’s very unfortunate for all Wayfinder’s customers to see a good and pioneering product go. However, the blind users of Wayfinder Access, the Wayfinder Product that revolutionized independent travel for thousands of blind pedestrians by giving them an overview of their surroundings and turn-by-turn instructions to walk an unknown route. For those users there is no alternative comparable to wayfinder access, so many people who like me can walk everywhere thanks to Access will soon be trown back in time and be reintroduced to getting lost and hour-long route learning drills.
If you agree Vodafone should do something to help the users of this unique product please sign our petition at!

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