Uber Buys Microsoft’s Mapping Tech to Lessen Reliance on Google Maps

Controversial cab booking firm Uber has acquired mapping assets from Microsoft Bing as the firm looks to lessen its reliance on Google Maps.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella warned last week in a letter to employees that the firm would soon be making some “tough decisions” about the technology it needs for the future, and it seems that mapping was on the list.

Uber confirmed on Monday that it had picked up Microsoft’s mapping assets for an undisclosed sum, and TechCrunch reported that roughly 100 of Microsoft’s Bing Maps engineers will move to Uber. The firm will also gain a data centre, cameras and image-analysing software.

An Uber spokesperson said in a statement given to SEW’s sister publication, The INQUIRER: “We’re excited about the talent and technology this acquisition brings.

“Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great. So we’ll continue to work with partners, as well as invest in our own technology, to build the best possible experience for riders and drivers.”

Speaking about the acquisition, a Microsoft spokesperson added: “Over the past year, we have taken many actions to focus the company’s efforts around our core business strategy.

“In keeping with these efforts, 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’s mission to move beyond being a mere taxi booking outfit is no secret. The company bought California-based software mapping company deCarta in March, saying said it planned to use the acquisition to bolster its own products and services that rely on maps.

What’s more, rumours last month claimed that Uber was eyeing up Nokia’s Here mapping business in a bid to lessen its dependency on Google Maps.

Earlier this month, Uber also partnered with Foursqaure to provide users location-based place recommendations.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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