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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14 Comments

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Wow never used OpenStreetMap before, very impressed at how it shows house numbers! nice it shows business names as well!

I always have problems trying to find places on googlemaps.

Google Maps is dominating because of its features and coverage area for the whole world (almost), no other service have that much huge covered area.

MiukuMac said,
Except Nokia maps which is way more accurate.

Microsoft should buy this and make it available for OpenStreetMap

MiukuMac said,
Except Nokia maps which is way more accurate.

Not even Nokia maps ... they don't show as much detail as google.

How dare Microsoft go against the mighty Google? The should know better. If Google decides that they want to own a market, we know that all companies should just roll over, and let them just have their way. Google Play? Shut down Xbox live and PSN. Google Music? Shut down iTunes. Google TV? Roku, WMC, and AppleTV need to pull their products now! Trying to compete, just as the image for the article on the front page implies, is a crime. We need to let Google have full control, and standing in their way will not be tolerated.

microsoft had virtual earth then bungled it. openstreetmaps is a bit of a yawn. albeit Google has kinda skewered the programming behind streetview, it's not horrid.

I don't exactly see how Microsoft is being sleezy and "using an open source software effect to put a dent in a competitor's product."

Microsoft is simply in a partnership with OpenStreetMaps. With that partnership, Microsoft may be required to give data to OpenStreetMaps in exchange for being able to use their maps in Bing.

This is just like anything in the business world. Apple bought the company that created Siri, Google has surely bought tons of companies too, etc etc.

I never understood the need of OpenStreetMap. I understand the need for Wikipedia, which is arguably its doppelganger in the encyclopedia world. OpenStreetMap just isn't needed. There are many services that have mapped out, and mapped out well, the world. They are updated and use more than enough data connected to make them worthwhile.

I'm not arguing against competition, but... well, i guess I am. Never mind then. I like competition.