The financial terms of the agreement are unknown as of now. However, the deal goes beyond the mere access to high quality and up-to-date map data.
Microsoft will be able to incorporate HERE data and services into many of its own, such as the Bing Maps platform that supplies Bing search engine, the AI assistant Cortana and many others.
Also, developers will benefit from the integration with the Bing Maps API offered through the Azure Marketplace.
HERE, which specializes in accurate location-driven data solutions will also grant Microsoft access to its platform services. The expanded deal includes services like real-time road traffic flow and live public transit data.
“Bringing the highest quality maps and geographical services to our consumers and developers is of paramount importance to Microsoft,” said Jordi Ribas, Corporate Vice President, Bing Program Management, Microsoft. “HERE continues to be an industry leader and geospatial innovator and by expanding our long-standing partnership with HERE, we will continue to bring benefits to our customers,” he added.
Bruno Bourguet, SVP of Sales and Business Development at HERE, commented on the extended partnership: “Our goal is to enable global access to the best mapping and location services for consumers and businesses, and we are delighted to extend our partnership with Microsoft, supporting its product innovation into the future.”
A move into the automotive technology
The extended deal might be a good indicator for Microsoft’s future plans. The company seems to move into automotive technology, focusing on AI-driven solutions.
Earlier this week, Microsoft made an announcement releasing Cortana development tools to developers and device manufacturers for widespread use. Along with that, Microsoft also announced a new Cortana-based speaker in collaboration with Harman Kardon, a premium audio maker known for making car audio systems.
The company also mentioned it is working with various partners from different industries, including “some exciting work with connected cars”.
While HERE is primarily known for mapping solutions, the company has evolved over the years. It now uses cloud-based services, offering a representation of various traffic data in real-time.