Uber is acquiring part of Microsoft Bing’s mapping technology, including 100 of its engineers, TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm reports.
It looks like the main focus of the deal is Microsoft technology for collecting images.
We’ve known for a while now that Uber is interested in building out its own mapping product, or otherwise acquiring talent to strengthen its mapping system.
Currently, Uber relies on Google Maps technology for its mapping. But Bing’s technology would help the company develop its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business, but also its other logistics-related endeavours, including UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service.
Uber and Microsoft both confirmed the purchase to TechCrunch but didn’t divulge details. In addition to losing roughly 100 data-collection engineers, Microsoft has also sold “assets” to Uber, which could likely be intellectual property in the form of Bing’s image collection.
Last month, Uber reportedly submitted a $US3 billion bid to buy Nokia’s mapping product, Here.
Uber making a bid for Here was an unusual move for the company, which hasn’t made a lot of acquisitions. Even more fascinating, Wilhelm notes for TechCrunch, is the fact that Microsoft has said for years that it wouldn’t sell Bing.
We’ve reached out to Uber and Microsoft for comment and will update this story accordingly.