Continuing with its effort to develop its own mapping technology, Uber has acquired part of the tech powering Microsoft’s Bing Maps, it was revealed Monday. The deal has also seen the company behind the ride-hailing service snag around 100 of the computer giant’s employees that work on the mapping tech.
The move was first reported by TechCrunch, and has been since been confirmed by both companies. However, neither offered any details on the terms of the deal. Bloomberg said it also includes a data center in Colorado, “as well as cameras, software and a license to certain intellectual-property rights.”
Regarding those employees, apparently their skills lie in image acquisition; in other words, they’ve been helping to bring aerial and street imagery to Bing Maps. A hundred engineers is certainly a sizable team, and points to the scale of Uber’s ambitions as it seeks to build out its own maps offering, which currently relies on content from the likes of Google, Apple, and Baidu.
Further evidence of its plans came earlier this month when it was revealed that Brian McClendon, Google’s former head of Maps, had moved to Uber. Besides working on Uber’s mapping expansion, McClendon will also be steering the company’s self-driving car strategy.
Uber was also recently thought to be considering putting in a multi-billion-dollar bid for Nokia’s Here Maps, though it’s not clear if talks on a possible deal have progressed.
In a statement issued Monday, Uber said it was “excited” about the Bing deal, adding that it would carry on working with partners while continuing to invest in its own mapping technology to improve the experience for its riders and drivers. Microsoft also confirmed the deal, saying it was part of an ongoing strategy to help focus the company’s efforts around its core business strategy, which includes personal computing and cloud software.
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