Some search companies feel they’re not cut out to run their own map imagery collection business, and Bing is just one of those companies, it seems. Bing has made the decision that they will rely on licensing deals to power some of its key mapping tools, which includes 3D and aerial images, as well as the Streetside service.
TechCrunch reported earlier that Bing had made this decision, and Bing has finally confirmed the report, by saying that they’re selling some of its mapping assets to Uber. Although financial terms weren’t discussed by a Microsoft spokesperson, they did give a prepared statement on the deal:
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 assets include:
- About 100 Boulder-based employees who are receiving job offers from Uber
- Intellectual property licenses, software and physical goods, including cameras.
So how will this impact Bing Maps users? Ultimately, the impact should be minimal since Bing Maps will be continuing to off these tools, despite they won’t be owned by Microsoft. Eventually, there will probably an update to the small print at the bottom of the images that credits the source(s).
The Bing-Uber deal should theoretically close in about a month.