Spokesmen for Nokia and Uber declined to comment. Representatives for the German automakers were not immediately available for comment.
The widespread interest in buying Nokia's mapping division has highlighted the growing need for digital maps in a variety of online services, particularly those used on smartphones.
Many of America's other big companies rely on digital mapping assets in one form or another to power services like in-car navigation and online directions. Amazon, FedEx and Microsoft, for instance, have licensed Nokia Here mapping data for years to power navigation and online directions services.
Read MoreNokia Maps vs. Apple Maps: New 'Here' App Squares Off Against Maligned iOS 6 Maps
But for some companies, like Uber, there is a growing strategic interest in owning or controlling the mapping technology assets that power their services, instead of relying on large partners who could potentially become competitors.
Uber, flush with billions of dollars of venture capital, has expanded at breakneck speed to over 300 cities in more than 50 countries from Canada to China. But it has also increasingly positioned itself beyond its taxi roots to become a logistics company, aiming to deliver people and things within cities as quickly as possible — all through the use of online digital maps.
Last week, Google announced it was piloting a car-pooling program in Tel Aviv, a small test to see if Israeli commuters were willing to share rides during rush hour for a small fee. Uber relies largely on Google Maps for its service, although the company uses other sources of mapping data as well.
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Analysts said Here's strength in the transportation sector would have helped Uber reduce its reliance on Google Maps and other services. A mapping tool built with Here's know-how, for example, could have helped with services like Uber Pool, the company's ride-sharing initiative that uses geospatial mapping data to pair riders with drivers.
Google Maps has an estimated one billion mobile users, or more than 10 times the amount of Here's smartphone users, but Nokia's division dominates in automobile mapping — a field in which both Google and Apple, which has struggled with its own mapping service, have marked for growth.
While Uber is now out of the running for Nokia's mapping unit, the ride-booking company has not stood still. In March, it bought deCarta, an almost decade-old mapping software company based in San Jose, Calif., to bolster its mapping efforts. And last month, Uber announced that it had acquired a portion of Microsoft's maps technology and extended employment offers to around 100 engineers on Microsoft's mapping team.