Microsoft Taps into Multi-Map

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft acquired Multimap on Wednesday, a leading provider of location-based services in Europe. The privately-owned British company is one of the United Kingdom's top 100 technology firms, and was an early pioneer in online mapping for the island country.

According to the Times of London, the deal is worth $50 million dollars, half of which will go to Multimap's founder Sean Phelan. (Source: The website is the second most popular online destination in its class in the UK, trailing Google Maps and leading Microsoft's Live Search Maps (which came in fifth).

This is the second major business deal for Microsoft following its highly publicized acquisition of a stake in Facebook. The Redmond-based company hopes to increase its revenue base as it battles other web portals like Google and Yahoo for advertising vehicles. Multimap will also enhance MSN's current menu of online services adding to the Virtual Earth and Live Search offerings.

Sharon Baylay, general manager of the Online Services Group at Microsoft said, "This acquisition will play a significant role in the future growth of our search business and presents a huge opportunity to expand our platform business beyond the U.K. and globally."

Like most large technology companies, Microsoft has a habit of buying up firms that will increase the services it can provide users. Multimap, with its location based searches delivered to almost every imaginable device, seems to fit into this category. "Microsoft has had a platform that has been much more designed for a PC," said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner, told the International Herald Tribune. "If you have a Web presence and combine that with a mobile capability, that's a very good strategy."

Mapping for mobile devices has been a popular market lately. Google recently introduced its 'My Location' feature to 'Google Maps for Mobile' allowing consumers without GPS-enabled (Global Positioning System) phones to easily find directions and services close by. Tom Tom is attempting to acquire TeleAtlas (a navigation services provider), and the GPS manufacturer recently reached an agreement to use Google Maps's business locator service on its devices.

In addition, the cellular phone maker Nokia announced late Wednesday its acquisition of Navteq, yet another digital map company, had been overwhelmingly approved by shareholders, clearing the way for the Finnish-based company to complete its $8.1 billion dollar purchase. (Sources:

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