updated 04:40 pm EST, Fri February 19, 2010
Figure took six months to achieve
Over 100,000 copies of the TomTom iPhone app have been downloaded, the company claims in its latest quarterly results. The title is one of the more expensive ones at the App Store, currently costing at least $60 in a US-only edition. It does however supply functions not available in Google Maps, namely turn-by-turn instructions.
The downloads have contributed to a profit of over $99.2 million in TomTom's fourth quarter, in stark contrast with the same quarter a year ago, when it lost more than $1.3 billion as result of debt from buying map producer Tele Atlas. Still more problems lie ahead, as comparable GPS apps are now being offered for free on some phones by Google and Nokia. The Google app, Maps Navigation, could become available for the iPhone later this year pending a firmware update.
"The industry we operate in is going through substantial change," notes TomTom's CEO, Harold Goddijn. "Increasingly, digital maps are being deployed in the battle for mobile phone screens, either via smartphone or mobile Internet applications."
Goddijn insists however that the free apps are unlikely to affect TomTom profits, and that some opportunities may come through new partnerships and business models in the mobile realm. The executive has not elaborated on such statements, but the company could easily sell its maps and/or technology to various smartphone makers and carriers.