TomTom finds its way

TomTom is a fascinating business for several reasons.  For a start, it’s an example of being successful through having the right product at the right time, and when the technology was available for that product to be saleable at the right cost – notably simple stand-alone satellite navigation devices in the early 2000s.  It’s also an example of the effective use of open source, not just for the software but also for mapping data which can be kept up-to-date with the help of information provided by users.  Perhaps most significantly, the same product which looked successful in the early 2000s is now starting to look dated.

It’s interesting, then. to see that TomTom has now made a deal with Apple to provide mapping and satellite navigation tools for iPhones – immediately bringing TomTom into the position of being a key player in the ‘ecosystem’ of hardware, application, and accessory providers that Apple has created.  This cartoon from the Guardian’s Kipper Williams rather neatly sums up one aspect of the deal – that it could be seen as a significant snub for Google who would like to promote their own mapping and direction finding tools.

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