Uber has hired around 100 Microsoft employees who work on image collection and data analysis as they have added Microsoft’s Bing Maps technology to its mapping smarts.
While Bing Maps will continue to provide driving directions and information about traffic and road conditions, Microsoft wants to depend on its partners from now with respect to collecting the imagery and data for Bing Maps. Both the companies have said that a small number of employees from Microsoft’s larger maps team are joining Uber.
A spokeswoman on Monday stated that for Microsoft it is a core strategy, getting planned from a year ago to give more focus on the productivity services. The part joined Uber also includes a data center outside of Boulder, Colorado, as well as cameras, software and a license to Microsoft intellectual property. Financial terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.
Uber has made several acquisitions since it’s inception. Earlier this year it bought deCarta, a company whose mapping and location services have been used in cars from GM and Ford, as well as devices from Samsung and Blackberry.
However, the fact that how Uber will use Microsoft’s assets still remains as a question. They could benefit from its navigation and estimated-arrival-time systems, as well as UberPool, a feature available in some cities that let people share a ride when they’re travelling in the same direction and split the cost.
“In San Francisco, almost half of all Uber rides use UberPool.” – Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber
Though Uber uses its own mapping data combined with that of several providers including Google, Apple and Baidu, according to a spokeswoman the company will continue to work with partners as well as invest in its own technology. This latest deal with Microsoft is expected to close in the next month.
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