Microsoft supporting competitor to Google Maps

Google Maps may dominate the Internet map space but lately the service has been losing some support among third party applications. The popular social network FourSquare recently switched over its map feature from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap, an open source project run by a non-profit.

More recently, Apple's new iPhone and iPad application iPhoto also decided to use OpenStreetMap, even though Apple's mapping feature for iOS continues to use Google Maps.

The kicker to all this is that Microsoft has been directly supporting OpenStreetMap. As reported by PCWorld.com, the company hired OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast to become the Principal Architect for Bing Mobile. However, Coast also continues to work on OpenStreetMap.

Not only does Microsoft use OpenStreetMaps for its own Bing service, it has also reportedly donated map data to the open source project. The end result is that Microsoft's support of OpenStreetMap has lead to a few companies deciding to bypass Google Maps.

All of this means that while Google continues to be the leader in this particular marketplace, it also shows that it is not invulnerable. It also shows that Microsoft is not above using an open source software effort to put a dent in a competitor's product.

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