Multimap Buy Shores Up Microsoft's Location Services

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-12-12 Print this article Print

The new location and mapping technology will be used to complement existing Microsoft offerings.

Microsoft moved to shore up its mapping and location platform services, announcing on Dec. 12 that it has bought Multimap, which it describes as one of the leading online mapping services in the world.

The software maker, which did not disclose the terms of the deal, intends to use the new Multimap location and mapping technology to complement its existing offerings like Virtual Earth, Live Search, Windows Live services, MSN and the aQuantive advertising platform.

Multimap will become part of the Virtual Earth and Search teams in the Online Services Group, and operate as a wholly owned Microsoft subsidiary, the two companies said in a statement.

Microsoft is also touting the possible integration of this technology into other products and platforms, but declined to give more detail at this time given how early it is in the business planning process.

To read more about how acquisitions help Microsoft make up lost ground, click here.

"We are in the initial stages of business planning to determine how this acquisition will play out with existing offerings, including aQuantive. We purchased Multimap to extend the availability of our mapping solutions, and we see this as a tremendous opportunity to improve the value we provide to customers and end users," Justin Osmer, the senior product manager for Live Search, told eWEEK.

Multimap provided the balance Microsoft was looking for as it had an established business, a technology platform that could continue to scale the business from day one, as well as a talented team of people who could help Microsoft capitalize on the mapping and search industry opportunity it envisioned, Osmer said.

Multimap's Web site says the company delivers more online maps, point-to-point driving directions and geo-spatial searches to more businesses and consumers than any other supplier in Europe, and that its business consists of two parts: the free consumer Web site and mapping business services to more than 1,200 business Web sites across many industries and countries.

"Partnering with Microsoft gives us a world of new opportunities to build our mapping services into new technologies and applications. Microsoft is in a position to bring even more value to the Multimap service and give people everywhere new, exciting and fun ways to get from point A to point B," Jeff Kelisky, the CEO of Multimap, said in a statement.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer expects to buy about 100 companies over the next five years. Click here to read more.

Microsoft has been using acquisitions as a way to aggressively expand its online services, and has a long history of buying companies and then integrating those technologies into its products.

The software maker went on a buying spree in the advertising solutions space this year, acquiring AdECN Exchange, an advertising exchange platform company; the French company ScreenTonic and its mobile advertising solution; and aQuantive, a global digital marketing and advertising solutions firm.

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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