Uber acquires mapping assets from Microsoft Bing

Uber has acquired 100 of Microsoft Bing's engineers along with other assets of the company's mapping technology, reports Reuters, as part of Microsoft's refocus away from some of its less lucrative online operations.

Many of the assets to be absorbed by Uber are related to image and data collection, with Uber hoping to improve its own maps as a result. Microsoft has also made a deal to sell its display advertising business to AOL.

In a statement, Microsoft said: "Today's news is evidence of Microsoft's increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services."

Financial terms of the Microsoft/Uber deal have not been disclosed, but it is thought that Uber will continue to use mapping services from Google, Apple and Baidu, as is currently the case.

In May, we reported that Uber was bidding to buy Nokia's Here mapping technology for $3 billion, amidst speculation that Uber wished to have more ownership over their customers' data.

"Uber understands that owning the customer today is about owning consumer time and data on mobile devices," Forrester Research analyst Julie Ask told IT Pro.

"The Nokia Here technology is one of, if not the most sophisticated mapping solution. It was built by a company that understands mobile phones and how consumers use them."

Previously, Uber has shown interest in developing self-driving vehicles with a research partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and the Uber Advanced Technologies Center.

The taxi app company, despite its success, has faced a constant battle with controversy. Earlier this year, for example, Uber's security policy came under fire once again after users had their Uber accounts hacked.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.