Uber buys Bing Maps unit off Microsoft
Uber is acquiring a portion of Microsoft's Bing mapping unit, part of the mobile car-booking application's push to broaden its in-house technology for drivers.
Uber is offering jobs to about 100 Microsoft employees who work on image acquisition and data analysis and processing as part of the mapping team for Bing, Microsoft's internet search engine. The deal includes a data site near Boulder, Colorado, as well as cameras, software and a license to certain intellectual- property rights.
Microsoft and Uber declined to disclose terms.
Microsoft has been focusing on its main businesses, such as personal computing, mobile productivity and cloud software, while Uber, flush with cash, is seeking to build a sophisticated mapping organisation. Uber now works with Google, Apple, Baidu and others to provide maps for its drivers globally.
"Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great," Kristin Carvell, an Uber spokeswoman, said in a statement. "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."
The acquisition was reported earlier by TechCrunch. The Bing team included in the deal will join Uber's Advanced Technologies group under Brian McClendon.
"Over the past year, we have taken many actions to focus the company's efforts around our core business strategy," Tony Imperati, a spokesman for Microsoft, said in a statement. "We will no longer collect mapping imagery ourselves, and instead will continue to partner with premium content and imagery providers."
Earlier this year, San Francisco-based Uber teamed up with Baidu and Apax Partners to pursue Nokia Oyj's maps business, people with knowledge of the matter said in May. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, had offered to buy a minority stake. The outcome of those bids is still not known as no buyer for Nokia's map business has been announced.