updated 10:35 am EDT, Fri June 12, 2009
Apple TomTom Buy In Rumor
Dutch shares of native GPS device maker TomTom spiked on Friday morning after speculation rose that Apple is mulling getting a stake in the company. Following Apple's WWDC presentation Monday that saw TomTom introduce an iPhone GPS app and a matching car kit, some investors claim to have heard that TomTom being singled out and its tight integration of software with the iPhone are advance evidence of Apple wanting to invest a minority amount in the European firm. The rumor is not universal, however, and some openly doubt the likelihood of such a deal.
Apple has historically shied away from partial deals, making this unlikely, but does face competition in the GPS arena from cellphone designers that also have alliances with GPS firms. Garmin and ASUS are working together on the nuvifone series of navigation handsets. Nokia, meanwhile, acquired NAVTEQ and is using the latter's map data for its own navigation features.
Other companies have expressed interest in developing turn-by-turn iPhone GPS apps, particularly NAVIGON, but are often far smaller and less likely to have committed the resources to development in advance. TomTom had said it was researching the possibility of a driving directions app for the iPhone as early as mid-2008 and so would have been the best-prepared for an eventual product.
Apple hasn't commented on the rumor.