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As TomTom, one of the largest producers of satellite navigation devices in the world, entered 2010 it faced stiff competition from its traditional rivals such as Garmin and from new competition from cell phones. Although its sales reached an all time high of €1.74 billion in 2007 by 2008 sales had slipped to €1.67 billion. That year the company posted a loss of €872 million. The decline in sales continued with 2009 sales slipping to €1.48 billion, although the company managed to post net income of €86 million that year. TomTom employed over 3,000 employees in 40 countries. Since its founding in 1991, the Netherlands-based company experienced steady growth. It offered an array of information services and devices aimed at the consumer and business markets. It led the navigation market in Europe, and was second to Garmin in the United States. In 2007, it outbid Garmin to acquire Tele Atlas in a vertical integration strategy to control the map creation process. TomTom paid €2.9 billion for Tele Atlas. As 2009 came to a close, Google announced it would offer turn-by-turn navigation within cell phones. Google said the product, initially limited to driving directions in the U.S. would be free to consumers. As the U.S. and European markets for navigation devices matured, TomTom was faced with decisions related to the relative emphasis it should place on its stand-alone navigation devices, built-in navigational units for automobiles and aviation, and business devices and services aimed at companies with large mobile workforces.

Suggestions for Using the Case

Students should find the TomTom case interesting since many of them probably own a GPS unit or use a smartphone- based GPS application. The Nintendo case is excellent for drilling students in applying the concepts and analytical tools covered in Chapters 4 and 5. The case provides sufficient information to allow students to fully examine the competitive forces at play in the personal...
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