Uber Acquires Microsoft’s Mapping Data to Boost its Service
Any successful transportation company in the world relies heavily on maps. Uber’s app is basically a navigation app but with additional features like booking a cab and GPS. Recognizing how crucial maps are for its operations, Uber has acquired the mapping assets from Microsoft, which include data center, cameras, intellectual property, and roughly 100 engineers.
Microsoft has confirmed that it will no longer collect mapping data as it efforts to focus on the company’s core business strategy. Microsoft usually sources mapping data from Nokia and other partners for maps but it also used to collect its own 3D, aerial and street view maps.
Microsoft said in a recent statement
We will no longer collect mapping imagery ourselves, and instead will continue to partner with premium content and imagery providers for underlying data while concentrating our resources on the core user experience. With this decision, we will transfer many of our imagery acquisition operations to Uber.
Uber has been trying to strengthen its own mapping system. The company recently hired former Google Map executive Brian McClendon and with the latest acquisition from Microsoft, Uber aims to make its service better. Uber also wants to reduce its dependency on Google Maps, the go-to map service.
Uber said in a statement
Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great. So we will continue to work with partners, as well as invest in our own technology, to build the best possible experience for riders and drivers.
Microsoft will still continue to offer its maps services through Bing Maps using licensed data.