Online cab hailing service Uber is acquiring some of Microsoft’s map-generating technologies, in a bid to boost its own mapping service.
This means that Microsoft will now just display maps on its Windows devices rather than generate the maps themselves. Redmond would no longer collect mapping imagery itself but would continue to work with imagery providers. It already gets most of its map data from Finland’s Nokia.
The deal will see Uber buying a data center near Boulder, Colorado, as well as cameras and licenses to some Microsoft intellectual property. It also includes job shifting of nearly 100 data-collection engineers to Uber who are presently working on Microsoft’s image collection activities.
“We’re excited about the talent and technology this acquisition brings. Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great,” said a spokesperson for Uber.
“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.”
Microsoft on Uber’s acquisition said, “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.”
In related news, Microsoft has also inked a deal with AOL to handover its display advertising business to the latter.
As part of the 10-year deal, AOL will take over sales of display, mobile and video ads on Microsoft’s key services, including MSN, Outlook Mail, Xbox and Skype, in nine markets, including the U.S. and parts of Europe. In exchange, Microsoft’s Bing search engine will replace Google as the default search engine for AOL properties for the next 10 years with effect from 2016.