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Uber acquires Microsoft tech to further boost mapping game

Ride-hailing service Uber has moved to buy up a piece of Microsoft’s navigation expertise, it was revealed on Monday.

As part of the deal, around 100 of Microsoft’s Bing Maps engineers will move to Uber, while the firm will also gain a data centre, cameras and image-analysing software.

The deal, first reported by TechCrunch, was confirmed in a statement by Uber, but far from seals the end of Microsoft’s Bing Maps tools.

“Mapping is at the heart of what makes Uber great,” company spokesperson Kristin Carvell said. “We’ll continue to work with partners, as well as invest in our own technology, to build the best possible experience for riders and drivers.”

The employees making the trip across Silicon Valley have been responsible for bringing imagery from the air and the street into Microsoft Bing Maps platform.

Read more: Why is Uber causing protests?

Mapping has become a huge focus for Uber as it seeks to push its ride-sharing service, as well its increasingly important carpooling service UberPool.

The company currently relies on mapping expertise from a host of providers, including Google, Apple and Biadu, while it also bought the deCarta startup back in March to boost its talent pool in the sector.

It has been heavily rumoured the aggressively-expanding company is interested in snapping up Nokia’s Here Maps platform.

Where the Microsoft tech fits into the puzzle remains to be seen, but it seems clear Uber wants to be self-sufficient sooner rather than later.

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