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Apple, Google and Microsoft Begin to Compete for In-Vehicle Navigation

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July 25, 2013—According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, major technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are beginning to battle for in-vehicle navigation systems. This may spell trouble for other navigation system companies such as Garmin, TomTom, Continental and Harmin.

Google can already claim Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla as clients, while Apple has made strong connections with a number of OEMs that now support its Siri personal assistant.

"Apple's recent announcements of its automotive OEM partnerships and the expansion of its mapping efforts could significantly change the in-vehicle experience, especially with regards to navigation,” said John Canali, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Previously major technology companies largely wrote off automotive, as volumes are far smaller than handsets and computers. With volumes growing and with a growing emphasis on creating a unified experience across all screens (PC, handset, TV, and in-dash display) companies understand that this is an important screen to win."

The report, titled Automotive and Portable Navigation:  Market Drivers and Forecasts 2012–2020, also stated that over 50 percent of vehicles will be fitted with embedded navigation by 2020.

"Competing against these new players will be difficult for incumbent suppliers as the new players are so well capitalized and can devote far more to research and development,” said Richard Robinson, director of automotive and multimedia communications at Strategy Analytics.

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