Microsoft announced two sales as part of a plan to streamline its business. First up the software giant sold part of its Bing Mapping assets to Uber. TechCrunch writes about 100 employees focused on the product’s image collection activities will be transferred to Uber as part of the deal. Both firms confirmed the deal but refuse to share details.
The companies confirmed the transaction with TechCrunch, but each declined to name the terms of the agreement. Microsoft handing Uber part of its operating expenses is minor, given the financial scale of the firms. The technology transfer is far more interesting.
Uber’s app is essentially a map with add-ons, so that it would want to pick up engineers — currently the hottest Silicon Valley commodity — isn’t surprising. And that Microsoft might want to shed some talent that isn’t precisely core to its larger platforms and productivity efforts doesn’t shock.
Microsoft is also turning its back to the advertising business, the company made a deal with AOL to transfer the responsibility for sales of display, mobile and video ads on Microsoft properties in the US and eight other markets. As part of the deal, about 1200 advertising employees will be transferred to AOL and Bing will replace Google as the technology behind the AOL search engine for the next decade. The Bing search engine ads will remain firmly entrenched at Microsoft though.
For AOL and its new parent Verizon Communications Inc. – which recently completed a $4.4 billion acquisition of the company – the Microsoft partnership will give it a lot more ad inventory to work with as it tries to become a bigger force in the digital ad industry.
For example, AOL will now be able to put together more elaborate custom packages for brands that might include distribution on AOL’s sites, Microsoft’s MSN Web portal, and Xbox gaming consoles.
“I can go to market now with a pretty comprehensive scale play. We now consider ourselves to be a must-buy,” said Bob Lord, executive vice president and president of AOL.