Newspaper article International New York Times

Chief of Nokia's Mapping Unit Steps Down

Newspaper article International New York Times

Chief of Nokia's Mapping Unit Steps Down

Article excerpt

Michael Halbherr is the latest casualty in the corporate shake- up following Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset business.

Only months after Microsoft bought Nokia's handset business for $7.6 billion, the Finnish technology company announced on Wednesday that a senior executive of one of its most important remaining businesses was stepping down.

Michael Halbherr, the chief of Nokia's mapping business, is leaving the company. The unit, called Here, is a global competitor for United States tech companies like Google and Apple, which have made priorities of online mapping and location-based services for smartphones, cars and other Internet-connected devices.

While Nokia is outmatched in the smartphone market by Google, which has roughly a billion mobile users, the company has carved out a niche for itself in other industries that rely on up-to-date online maps.

That includes a more than an 80 percent share of the global market for built-in car navigation systems, where Nokia's customers include many of the world's largest automakers, like Toyota and Volkswagen.

The company also has signed deals with companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo, which also use Here's mapping technology in their products.

The success in these areas has made the Nokia division a potential takeover target for other tech companies looking to beef up their presence in the online mapping industry. Analysts say Here could fetch around $6 billion if Nokia decided to sell the unit.

Here, however, remains a relatively small part of Nokia, and generates less than 10 percent of the company's overall revenue, according to company filings. The unit's revenues in the second quarter of the year was $232 million, compared with $2.6 billion for the company's main network-infrastructure business.

Mr. Halbherr will leave by the end of the month, and Nokia said it was looking for a replacement to run the division. …

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