Back in January 2009, as Vodafone was preparing to close a £20 million ($30 million) deal to buy Swedish mapmaker Wayfinder, it was seen as a bold move from a carrier intent on entering the apparently lucrative market for location based services. Fast forward to the present day -- past the bit where free Google Maps Navigation destroyed TomTom and Garmin share prices
, and past the introduction of free turn-by-turn navigation to Nokia's Ovi Maps
-- and you'll find Wayfinder gently sobbing into a handkerchief as it permanently closes up its doors. Vodafone's Anna Cloke gives us the reason for it with devastating concision:
"We could not charge for something that others gave away for free."
So there we have it, the paid navigation services deathwatch has its first fatality, and it's the unfortunate nature of the beast that plenty of others will be following suit, unable to resist the destructive effects of the free and ubiquitous services now on offer.