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Here gives up on Windows; will yank map, transit and nav apps in two weeks

Gregg Keizer | March 17, 2016
Stay calm ... no reason to panic, analyst tells Windows 10 users.

Separate from that transaction, Microsoft signed a four-year license for Here's mapping data; the Redmond, Wash. company has used -- and will continue to use -- that data for its own Windows 10 Maps app. Microsoft is currently testing a refreshed "universal" mapping app that will run on both desktop and mobile versions of its newest OS.

Although some opined last year that Microsoft should buy Here when Nokia put it on the block -- and yesterday argued that by passing, Microsoft missed the bus -- Dawson said Microsoft did the smart thing.

"They're picking their battles," Dawson said of Microsoft and its Windows Mobile. According to researcher IDC, Windows powered just 2.2% of 1.4 billion smartphones shipped last year worldwide. "They recognize that they can't be best in class [in maps] on their own. So their focus is not trying to compete on data by themselves."

In fact, Microsoft sold some of its home-brewed mapping technology and assets -- including a transfer of about 100 employees -- to the Uber ride-sharing service last summer. In effect, Microsoft called it quits on collecting its own mapping data and images.

As Dawson put Here's move in perspective, he rejected the idea that losing the firm's apps is a sign that Microsoft is on the verge of pulling the plug on Windows Mobile.

"Microsoft has been backing off on its own maps for a while," said Dawson. "Microsoft knew some time ago that they needed to have maps on [Windows Phone], but that they didn't have to do it themselves. Maps can't be a huge differentiator for [Windows], but they knew they could license [data] from Here."


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