Multimap Buy Shores Up Microsoft's Location Services

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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