I mentioned here years ago - I think back when the Navteq, TeleAtlas, TomTom, etc. map buying frenzy was at it's peak - that the proprietary maps for the mass market were going to be rendered obsolete by the wiki-like Open Street Map initiative. We're not quite there yet, but I just noticed while reviewing a number of hot navigation apps available for the iPhone that they were using what is called now OSM. These are apps for $1, $2, $3, etc. that provide various specialized functions revolving around gps. In case you hadn't noticed, use of gps is booming, in social apps and a million other directions. Garmin has really missed the boat here. They had a leg up on the entire world with gps and the advantage has slipped away. As usual, by clever dudes in the garage/basement/incubator solving little questions, bit by bit. An old boss used to say "perfection is the enemy of completion." Here, it's the enemy of competing. Garmin needs to get out of their ivory tower and into the trenches, either innovating or buying innovation, if they are to thrive. The trajectory of their business model doesn't look as good as it did a few years back. They should have 50 apps available for phones, not one. I used to be confident they would inherit the auto dashboard with their glass cockpit, but I no longer have that sense. There's always hope, but it's slipping away for me. I think they need some new innovative spirit involved in directing the company. The longstanding regulars are honest and hardworking I'm sure, but someone has to have his head up looking over the horizon, pushing the boundaries. Just my 2 cents worth.
The deal with Mercedes validates GRMN management's strategy. I have been as yang for years that GRMN must do whatever it takes to get access to the prime real estate location in LBS, the dash. The Marvin's may be thinner in OEM, but there is really no other choice.
We are on the Cusp of a massive automotive upgrade cycle. The US fleet is 11 years old and credit is getting easier and is still cheap.
Disclosure: I bought small positions in F and GRMN today.