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Microsoft latest purchase puts in on the map

Microsoft has confirmed (opens in new tab) on Wednesday that it has acquired the London based Online mapping company, Multimap for USD 50 million according to sources, although Times Online quoted up to USD 75 million shortly after the announcement was made public.

Its founder, Sean Phelan, who owns the majority of the business, stands at making more than GBP 12 million, with part of it being held by Virgin Media (opens in new tab).

Multimap (opens in new tab) provides mapping technology - street-level maps and point-to-point directions - to several high profile websites like Ebay's Gumtree, Virgin, Sainsbury's and Foxtons.

It is also one of the 10 top visited websites in the UK with an average of nearly 200 million page views per month; the acquisition will see Multimap integrate Microsoft, as part of the Virtual Earth and Search teams in the software giant's Online Services Group.

The mapping sector (opens in new tab) has seen unprecedented growth fuelled by online services like Google Maps and Satellite Navigation Devices and this has led to a slew of acquisitions in 2007.

Tomtom recently fought over TeleAtlas with Rival Garmin while Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia acquired Navteq Corporation for USD 8.1 billion.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.