In addition to this direct to consumer offer, TomTom is making its software available for licensing to business partners. “Local operators, system integrators, distributors or local offices of handset manufacturers now have the option to bundle TomTom’s navigation software with their products”, said a press release from the Dutch company.
With this announcement TomTom is looking at making huge margin - this software is almost as expensive as its entry level hardware product - through a direct channel it has so far neglected. It further illustrates the lack of clear strategy of the Dutch brand in the mobile arena.
TomTom entered this market as early as 2004 to finally retreat from it when concentrating its efforts on the booming PND market circa 2006-2007. Since then the company has been doing spot deals with Taiwanese Smartphone manufacturer HTC without further seeking to expand its market in the category while other – such as ALK or Nav N Go – made a growing business out of it. More than that, in limiting the availability of its software to a few HTC phones, TomTom pretty much encouraged its customers to download illegal version of the software losing both money on the software and on the map data from its subsidiary Tele Atlas.
Besides the on-board navigation software, TomTom’ CEO also made some public announcements to financial analysts regarding a possible off-board navigation solution part of a broader LBS platform. This has so far not been publicly available.