updated 01:40 pm EST, Wed December 12, 2007
Microsoft buys UK mappers
Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Multimap, a UK-based mapping company. Similar in concept to sites like Mapquest, the Multimap website lets users find places and driving directions, with additional options such as locating hotels or looking up subway routes. Microsoft says that the purchase is intended to complement its growing search services, including Virtual Earth and Live Search; the move may be more strategic still however, since it is competing not only with Mapquest but Google Maps, which has become increasingly integrated with other platforms.
The most notable of these is the iPhone, which has Maps preloaded in order to save bandwidth and simplify its interface. The software's presence, in tandem with finger-gesture commands, is marketed as one of the iPhone's main features. Google has also integrated Maps into its upcoming Android operating system, which may pose a threat to Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform, found on many current smartphones. With Multimap in hand, future updates of Windows Mobile may have mapping built-in.