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“The whole industry has been overly optimistic”
How crucial is India for Wayfinder?
India is a very promising market. Our services are all based around the mobile phone as the delivery vehicle so to speak. India is not very big today from a revenue point of view, but we believe that in the next two years it is going to become very important. You have your present tie up with MapmyIndia, Nokia and Airtel in India. Please comment. With MapmyIndia we have a mutually exclusive agreement on the server based navigation site. With the others it is more a matter of gaining trust and confidence with one another and working out a relationship. With Airtel, we now hope to expand beyond the Blackberry devices, to really push forward and to have much more integrated offerings together with them. On the device side, Nokia has their own solution, so the focus with them is in areas in which they do not have their own solutions.
What kind of solutions are you providing to map data providers in India?
We produce applications built around our server as well as our client technology and then we make an agreement with MapmyIndia, which utilizes their navigable maps for delivering those services. So they are supplying maps to us and we then sell applications to the end user. This is the way we work with Tele Atlas and Navteq as well.
Could you please highlight one of Wayfinders killer application?
Right now it is within navigation – Wayfinder Navigator. That is the most important from a revenue standpoint. From a user perspective, Wayfinder Earth is actually bigger – in that it is a free product you can download, test and use for looking at maps – it is more an educational type of product I would say. But we are growing volumes for Wayfinder Active and other products as well, so we plan to have a host of location applications utilizing our location aware server to produce compelling user experiences utilizing location as the common denominator.
How do you see China vis-à-vis Inida?
China will come. It has some difficulties in terms of how the government is working – they encrypt their map data, so it requires a different approach to the market where you need to encrypt all the material. If you look at the GPS and the map you might see a different place then where you actually are which makes it a bit tricky. Other than that China is a very interesting market, but we have found it less cumbersome in the initial stages to start the service in India. It is not only to do with the need of the market because that is equally big in China, but more the regulatory issues that make it more difficult to enter China. And not the least the language!
What about the market potential?
We have always been, I personally feel, overly optimistic, the whole industry has been overly optimistic. You might have heard that our company was founded in 1989 based on a notion that every single phone will have GPS in 1995. But what I see now is that we do not need to guess anymore; every series phone S60 coming out from Nokia for example has a GPS. Because you know the official market share, and how many phones they are going to come out with, you can sit down and count how much it might mean. Regarding Nokia, it might be bout 35 to 45 million phones and then the question is about the rest of the industry. We believe it might be about 75 million – somewhere between 50-100 million I think is a fair guess for the mobile market in 2008. And most of that is going to happen in the second half of the year.