Uber said to bid for Nokia's Here mapping business

Uber is aiming to reduce its dependence on Google for mapping services

Uber Technologies has bid for Nokia's Here mapping business, in a bid to reduce its dependence on Google, according to a newspaper report.

Nokia said last month it was considering a possible divestment from Here as it reviewed strategic options for the business. The Finnish company made the announcement on the same day it revealed plans to acquire rival Alcatel-Lucent, which led to speculation that the company would like to sell off Here to focus on its core business of equipment for telecommunications service providers.

The ride-hailing company has bid as much as US$3 billion for the business, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the offer. The bid is in competition with one from a consortium of German automakers, including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which also could have the backing of China's Baidu, according to the report.

Uber currently relies on data from Google Maps, Apple and other mapping sources, besides its own online information, the report said. Uber said in March it would acquire deCarta, a mapping and location company in San Jose, California. DeCarta technology could help people using Uber's car-pooling service UberPool, which requires more complex routing data than regular rides.

Uber has also been distancing itself from Google in other areas. In February, Uber said it partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to do research and development on transportation technologies, focusing primarily on mapping, vehicle safety and autonomy technology, which are areas Google has invested in already.

The search giant's venture capital arm, Google Ventures, is an investor in Uber.

Another bid from an undisclosed private equity firm has also been submitted for Here, and Nokia is expected to announce the sale by the end of this month, according to NYT.

Uber could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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