Microsoft, Amazon To Benefit From Nokia's Desti Purchase
BMI View: Location- and personalisation-based services are key drivers of growth in the digital economy and the potential of such services has often been hampered by the limitations of devices accessing third-party services. The success of Apple's Siri voice-driven search platform and the potential of Google Glass' voice-powered user interface show how successful vertical integration of proprietary apps and devices can be. Nokia's acquisition of Desti therefore poses significant opportunities for partner Microsoft as the latter looks to rebuild Windows' share of the smart device market.
Nokia has acquired Desti to bolster its mapping business, HERE. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Desti's pedigree suggests a considerable sum was involved. Desti's roots are in SRI International, the technology company that developed the Siri voice recognition platform bought by Apple. Desti notes that the technology being acquired by Nokia is based on the Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA) technology developed in the wake of Siri.
Nokia's HERE mapping and location information business is small relative to its network infrastructure and intellectual property businesses and, following the divestiture of the handsets business to Microsoft earlier in 2014, BMI questioned the long-term value of HERE to Nokia. Microsoft has a five-year licence to utilise HERE applications in its devices and its software platforms but has made little overt use of the technology so far. Desti's artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology enables contextual search, potentially adding considerable value to HERE and perhaps tempting more consumers to purchase Windows-powered devices.
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