Microsoft Extends Partnership with HERE to Include Car-Based Services

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile with 4 Comments

Microsoft Extends Partnership with HERE to Include Car-Based Services

Why Microsoft never purchased HERE remains a mystery, but the software giant this week extended its partnership with the location services firm. And now they can use HERE data for in-vehicle services.

“HERE and Microsoft have signed a multi-year strategic commercial agreement, enabling Microsoft to leverage HERE map data and platform services in the development of its products and services,” HERE’s Jamie Stevenson reveals in a new post to the HERE 360 blog.

As I understand it, this deal basically does two things.

First, it takes the existing deal and extends it out further into the future. In doing so, Microsoft is eliminating concerns that I and others had voiced about the company not having guaranteed access to location data, which is crucial for its future as a cloud services provider.

As HERE puts it, Microsoft will now be able to continue integrating HERE data and services into the Bing Maps platform that powers, Cortana, and many other Microsoft services, as well as into its Bing Maps API offered to developers through the Azure Marketplace.

But this new deals also expands on the previous agreement. Now, Microsoft can also use of HERE data and services “in connection with in-vehicle productivity scenarios.” That’s new, and it’s interesting how Microsoft keeps dribbling out information about its secretive plans for automotive. Earlier this week, for example, it briefly mentioned that it was “working with a variety of partners across industries and hardware categories, including connected cars” as part of its Cortana Unbound announcements.

“Microsoft will have access to the most up-to-date, accurate maps available,” Mr. Stevenson claims. “It will also benefit from HERE platform services such as real-time road traffic flow and live public transit data.”

Naturally, one wonders why Microsoft didn’t just buy HERE, which was part of Nokia at the time, when it purchased almost every single valuable asset owned by Nokia. I’ve written about this a lot, and still feel that owning this set of services is key to Microsoft’s future. At least this is a step in the right direction.


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