Let me start by saying that I love TomTom on Windows Mobile - it seems to be the least-resource-intensive among the full featured GPS apps and that matters to me. So I'm inclined to be happy that they're planning on buying up the company that makes the maps they use - Tele Atlas. Supposedly TomTom will be able to gather data from its users to improve the maps. Sure, that's cool.

What's more interesting is that, really, there are two big players in the electronic mapping business these days - Tele Atlas and NavTeq. NavTeq makes the maps for Windows Live Search (swoon) and Notable Calls suspects they'll be snapped up soon as well. That would please me a bit, as it would mean that another mapping client like Google's or WLS's would get more full-featured, but it would also cause me some fear.

Why fear? Well TomTom's purchase is a good case study. They say that TeleAtlas will still be providing maps to other companies, but that decision is pretty much up to the whim of the TomTom management now. Given that TomTom still has the single most annoying GPS software activation process known to mankind, I don't have faith in their commitment to openness. Seems to me what we need is a full-featured, open source, wiki-style map. Hm. Maybe it's time to go contribute to OpenStreetMap, just in case.

Dutch navigation systems company TomTom plans to buy its main map supplier, Tele Atlas, for 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion), hoping tight integration of maps and products will give it an edge over competitors.

Read: NavTeq Should Move On Tele Atlas Buyout By TomTom - Seeking Alpha. Thanks to Mike for the tip.