Bing Maps to get Nokia branding - and not just on Windows Phone

Since Nokia embraced Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, the company's relationship with Microsoft has always been represented as a mutually beneficial one. Nokia would gain the impressive Windows Phone operating system and access to Microsoft’s complementary services – such as Zune, Office Mobile, SkyDrive and Xbox LIVE – while Microsoft would benefit from Nokia’s global retail and network relationships around the world, as well as Nokia’s extensive mapping and location-based services.

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has revealed that this will soon become evident in a much more visible way, with the Nokia brand name being used on Microsoft services that use Nokia expertise and data.

“You’ll start seeing the word ‘Nokia’ on a map that you get from Microsoft properties over a period of time,” Elop said, “even if you are on a BlackBerry device, who recently said they were going to start using Bing Maps.”

Indeed, it seems that Nokia is eager to get worldwide exposure for their expertise; the company clearly believes that if they are to infuse Microsoft services with Nokia data and intelligence, they should get brand recognition for it. Elop added: “Part of the relationship we established with Microsoft is that we are clearly placing a bet on the Microsoft platform; [and] they are placing a bet on our location-based platform: mapping, navigation and so forth.”

If you were in any doubt that this was just a one-off, perhaps a token gesture by Microsoft for its most-valued mobile partner, think again. Elop underlined that this is just the beginning: “In the time ahead, what you will see is, across all the Microsoft properties, including Bing Maps, more and more work will be done by Nokia.”

While Nokia clearly enjoys plenty of access to some of Microsoft’s most valuable brands through Windows Phone, Elop emphasized that Nokia’s superiority in mapping and location-based services ensures that the relationship isn’t totally one-sided: “We did that for important reasons as we had the better mapping assets, so it made sense. But it also creates some balance in the relationship with Microsoft.”

We’re unlikely to see ‘Nokia Maps’ replace the Bing Maps brand any time soon though; it’s far more likely that Bing Maps will remain the primary brand, while Nokia will receive a secondary credit, perhaps in a similar way to how NAVTEQ is co-credited for Nokia’s map data.

But Nokia will certainly have won a good deal of brand exposure in having its name and/or logo splashed across maps on devices outside of the Windows Phone ecosystem – it can only be a good thing for strengthening awareness of the company’s offerings among consumers.  


Original image via The Guardian

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

162 million saw Wikipedia's SOPA/PIPA blackout page

Next Story

Megaupload charged with piracy, shut down

17 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

This was rumored when Nokia and Microsoft were first in talks, before WP7 was released, and with the Bing downsizing at the time, it was known they were moving to a new technology structure for many of the features, with Microsoft still providing the private imaging of sky views.

After the Nokia deal, all of this was confirmed, with Bing moving forward with the API changes and pulling out features preparing for adapting Nokia's mapping into the technology.

So this is news how and why to anyone, or do people have short term memory?

It was already known that Nokia technology and data were going to be used by Microsoft. In fact, the article specifically states that that was always going to be part of the deal. The bit about Nokia data being used by Microsoft isn't new, but no-one said it was; it was added to give context to the article.

It's important to remember that not everyone knows everything about every aspect of technology, and that some readers actually appreciate getting additional information and background to the article that puts it into a context that they perhaps aren't fully aware of. This additional information might come across as 'stating the obvious' for you, but for others, it's a useful way to get a more complete understanding of the story.

But just to be clear: Nokia branding on MS services + Nokia branding extending to non-WP7 devices = new. The clue was in the title, but it does help to read the article fully before commenting.

Ambroos said,
Good, Bing Maps was horrible. Nokia's online maps are quite okay really.

This isn't about replacing Bing Maps with Nokia Maps. The issue here - as Elop explains it - is that, where Bing Maps uses Nokia data and location-based services, the Nokia brand will feature to give credit to Nokia for that data. From what Elop has said, nothing appears to suggest that the Nokia Maps product will replace Bing Maps, or that the Nokia Maps brand will replace the Bing Maps brand.

We're just talking about Nokia getting brand exposure in Microsoft services - and that looks like it will ensure that the Nokia brand gets visibility on rivals' handsets, such as Android phones that have Bing Maps (e.g. where carriers have agreements for Bing Maps to be the default location services provider on all handsets) or on BlackBerrys (which have also signed up to Bing Maps).

Ambroos said,
Good, Bing Maps was horrible. Nokia's online maps are quite okay really.

Bing maps weren't always 'horrible', they were really good before the Nokia deal was in process. When the Microsoft Nokia talks started, Bing was in the process of API revamp and downsized a lot of features waiting for the Nokia mapping and also waiting for the new imaging from Microsoft's own division.

Microsoft has been sending out high altitude planes of the USA, getting consistent strips that are just now slightly being used in Bing Maps. The satelittle images were not high resoluion enough, had years of differences, had weather obscuring areas, etc. So it has a been a 50 million $ project getting solid new images of the USA and other countries as they are adding them. This also allows Microsoft to refresh the images themselves at higher resolutions on a yearly basis at least.
*And no this is not the birds eye view of low altitude planes, that Microsoft was the first to do way back.

Bing has turned OFF more features than Google currently offers, and people forget that Microsoft was the company that did all this photographic mapping technologies first over 15 years ago in a project to demonstrate the power of MSSQL in handling multi-TB of data back in the 90s when that was freaking huge.

So ya, Bing maps right now is a sad skeleton of what it was and what it will be. Watch the API and Developer kits for it and pay attention to what is coming.

Microsoft also doesn't toot their horn well on what they have, like having airports and shopping malls in Bing Maps a couple of years ago, and yet Google got 'news' for adding it this year.

thenetavenger said,

Bing maps weren't always 'horrible', they were really good before the Nokia deal was in process. When the Microsoft Nokia talks started, Bing was in the process of API revamp and downsized a lot of features waiting for the Nokia mapping and also waiting for the new imaging from Microsoft's own division.

What's been downsized or turned off? I haven't really had any problems with Bing, but I only started using it about 4 months ago.

perhaps in a similar way to how NAVTEQ is co-credited for Nokia's map data.
Um Navteq is owned by Nokia lol.

But I think this is a good thing since in many parts of the world Bing Maps isn't up to scratch. Now that Microsoft has access to Navteq's database, that should change!

/- Razorfold said,
Um Navteq is owned by Nokia lol.

But I think this is a good thing since in many parts of the world Bing Maps isn't up to scratch. Now that Microsoft has access to Navteq's database, that should change!

Indeed; but I was trying to highlight the co-existence of the two brands on Nokia Maps (I think that the NAVTEQ camera cars also have both the Nokia and NAVTEQ brands), rather than emphasising the business relationship between the two brands, though perhaps I didn't do the best job of explaining that...

Some Bing Maps features already include NAVTEQ co-credits too, so we might simply see them pluck out the 'NAVTEQ' references and replace them with a Nokia logo instead.

/- Razorfold said,
Um Navteq is owned by Nokia lol.

But I think this is a good thing since in many parts of the world Bing Maps isn't up to scratch. Now that Microsoft has access to Navteq's database, that should change!

Interesting. I didn't know that.

neufuse said,
"two years from now you will see Nokia Windows" </s>

I was about to (half)-jokingly suggest Nokia Windows Phone 8+. With Elop being a Nokia trojan-horse into Microsoft. That'd be quite ironic considering all the "Elop is a MS trojan-horse" BS.