The GPS industry has changed significantly over the last five or six years. While once a booming trade, the advert of smartphones with GPS chips hit the industry hard, putting DeLorme out of business entirely (to be purchased by Garmin), while the last few giants standing are left to find alternate ways to make their fortunes. While Garmin has chosen to delve into the fitness tracker and smartwatch territory with its line, TomTom has instead focused less on hardware and more on mapping and navigational technology.
In fact, the last couple of years TomTom has made more deals with companies than it has released new products, and the most recent is actually pretty huge for the Dutch company. Last week, TomTom announced that it has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to provide location-based services to Microsoft’s Azure platform.
For those of you who aren’t computer tech-savvy (and believe me, I had to look it up myself), Microsoft Azure is a platform with a variety of cloud services for developers and designers to create functional apps and such. Basically, it allows app and website developers to easily create, run, and manage their software. Companies that use Azure include GE, 3M, Mazda, NPC, and others.
So, what does this mean for TomTom? I’m sure I don’t have to explain how prevalent GPS technology is in the mobile universe. Every cell phone and most modern computers have GPS chips in them, and more and more developers are using GPS tech to either market to specific users or provide other location-based services. By adding its location software and services to Azure, TomTom may be exponentially expanding its outreach to customers and the use of its platform. It’s not something that most people will notice, but it could be great news for the GPS giant.
“Location is fast becoming a critical component of a broad range of applications and services. Teaming up with Microsoft will bring our technology to a much broader developer community on a platform they are already familiar with,” said Harold Goddijn, TomTom CEO in a statement.