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Nokia's Navteq deal gets EC seal of approval

EC says "ability to deny competitors access is limited"

The European Commission has given the go-ahead for mobile phone manufacturer Nokia to take over US digital map maker Navteq.

The announcement follows the approval of a similar deal involving Dutch satellite navigation company Tom Tom and the map maker TeleAtlas in May.

Navteq and TeleAtlas are the only major providers of digital maps. The European Commission conducted in-depth probes of both deals because it suspected that TomTom, and then Nokia, might block any other companies from trying to compete in the rapidly expanding market for satellite-navigation appliances, mainly used in cars.

However, as with the earlier deal, Europe's top competition authority concluded that Nokia wouldn't be able to shut out new entrants to the market.

"The merged firm's ability to deny competitors access to map databases is limited by the presence of the other competitor, TeleAtlas," the Commission said in a statement, adding: "The merged company would lack incentives to close off supplies of digital map databases to its competitors because a loss in sales of maps would not be compensated by increased sales of mobile telephones."

The Commission also reasoned that rival mobile phone manufacturers could still compete with Nokia by working together with independent developers of satellite-navigation applications or by developing other attractive features of their handsets.

See also: Nokia buys Navteq to boost mobile maps


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