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Bing Maps Technology Acquired By Uber

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Uber Technologies Inc. (stylized as U B E R) is an American international transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows smart-phone customers to submit a trip request which is furthus routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. By May 28, 2015, the service was available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Uber is making the new way the world moves. It seamlessly connect customers to drivers through  its smart-phone apps, it makes cities more accessible, and it opens up more options for riders and more business for drivers. From its founding in 2009 to its launches in hundreds of cities around the world today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to make the people and the cities more closer. Since Uber’s launch, several other startups have focused their business model on its idea, a trend that has come to be referred to as “Uberification.”

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Uber has acquired some of the technology of Bing Maps, along with several Microsoft workers, as part of the ride-hailing company’s pervasive efforts to develop its own mapping technology. About 100 Microsoft employees joined Uber as a result of the deal focused on the product’s image collection activities. In short, Uber is acquiring data-collection engineers from Microsoft to bolster its own mapping work.

Formerly, Uber relied on Google Maps technology for its mapping. But Bing’s technology would help the company develop its own mapping software and data, helping Uber’s main driving business, but also its other logistics-related ventures, which include UberPool, Uber’s carpooling service, and UberFresh, Uber’s food delivery service.

Both the companies confirmed the transaction with TechCrunch, but each declined to name the terms of the agreement. Microsoft handling Uber part of its operating expenses is minor, given the financial scale of both companies. The technology transfer is far more then interesting. Uber’s smart-phone application is essentially use a map with add-ons, so that it would need to pick up engineers — currently the hottest Silicon Valley asset — is not surprising at all. And that Microsoft would want to outbuild some talent that is not precisely core to its larger platforms and productivity efforts does not surprise.

Microsoft has been noisy for years about how Bing is not an asset that it will sell, so to see the firm let go of a small piece is noteworthy. To answer some questions, Microsoft has been criticized on the issue of Bing search remaining as part of its family, and not on the thing of Bing being as diverse asset as Microsoft is, doing great. The kernel is that this sale is that there is not a change in strategy going on in the company.

The deal seems to be pivoted on Bing Maps’ imagery acquisition division, which has some great features such as satellite and Street View-style pictures within Bing Maps. In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company that ” 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.”

The move provides a limelight on Uber’s ambition. A firm does not hire 100 specific-focus engineers in a single action if it does not have large product objectives. The new Uber employees are the ones who worked to get image data into Bing, meaning that the search engine’s aerial, street footage and 3D viewing is in large part their doing. You can therefore think of what Uber has in its aspirations list.

The companies also informed that ‘assets’ will transfer, as well as the workers. Both the companies declined to elaborate on what those assets are. However, you can guess. If your work involves image collection, and you are hired away, then some of your work would follow is not beyond the pale. Therefore, the guess is that Microsoft is selling a component of its image collection to Uber, and that the company will retain licensing rights thereof. Perhaps, Redmond is also selling off some part of its intellectual property to Uber in the deal.

The official comments from both the companies are of many variety, with Uber saying that it’s “excited about the talent and technology this acquisition brings.” On the other part, Microsoft said that it has “taken many actions to focus the company’s efforts around our core business strategy” in the last year. Uber wants to be clear that it wants to be a full-stack operation, while Microsoft wants people to consider its product focus a weapon. For now, Uber got new technology, and Microsoft’s Bing product is slightly lighter in the financial sense.

Image credits: Techcrunch.com

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