Microsoft is selling some of its mapping imagery and data to Uber in a deal that bolsters the ride-sharing giant’s recent mapping efforts. The Redmond company is expected to stop collecting mapping imagery as it focuses on strengthening its core businesses.
The deal will transfer about 100 data-collection engineers who worked on Bing, along with many of Bing’s imagery gathering operations, to Uber. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Over the past year, we have taken many actions to focus the company’s efforts around our core business strategy,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement to GeekWire. “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.”
Uber has reportedly been working on something related to mapping, with rumors that the company bid $3 billion to acquire Nokia’s HERE mapping business earlier this year. With the acquisition of both assets and engineers, the ride-hailing service may be looking to instead build something in-house. The company also acquired mapping software company deCarta in March.
“Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great,” an Uber spokeswoman said. “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.”
Uber currently uses Google Maps in their app, but Uber and Google both threaten to encroach on each other’s business. Uber is working with Carnegie Mellon to develop driverless car technology and Google’s autonomous cars could possibly power its own Uber competitor.
TechCrunch reported news of Bing’s Uber deal earlier today.