Next Up: MapQuest ‘Powered by Bing’?

I was having a discussion with some people last night in a bar in San Francisco (where I do all my best thinking) and I was pointed to a provocative statement buried in a post about AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s recent UBS conference keynote. It’s from Peter Kafka at AllThingsD:

Q: Whither MapQuest?

A: MapQuest is still Top 20 search term. It has a large market share. The technology has not been focused on in a number of years. We’re changing that. Partners are inquiring about MapQuest, and I think what we’ll do is an operational partnership with them. We feel like its a “very, very valuable property.”

What we discussed was that, as a practical matter, this probably means Bing Maps will come in to “power” MapQuest the site. So rather than sell the property as was previously rumored, AOL will retain the brand and the traffic and outsource the back-end technology, as Yahoo is doing with search, to Microsoft.

What that also likely means, by extension, is that Microsoft will become AOL’s search and search monetization partner when the Google deal expires in 2010.

Who thinks I’m wrong?

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6 Responses to “Next Up: MapQuest ‘Powered by Bing’?”

  1. Bing to take over MapQuest? It’s possible. Says:

    [...] mickey on December 11, 2009 An article over on Screenwerk today seems to think that Microsoft may start powering the engine behind MapQuest, similar to how [...]

  2. Playing Catch-up MapQuest Launches ‘360 View’ « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] development clearly seems at odds with my earlier prediction that MapQuest would outsource everything to Bing. So we’ll see. My guess is that this was in [...]

  3. MapQuest Integrates Citysearch Content Says:

    [...] was rumored that MapQuest might be for sale; however that appears to no longer be true. I speculated that eventually MapQuest would outsource mapping to Bing, while retaining the MapQuest brand and [...]

  4. James Says:

    Greg, I interprete Tim Armstrong’s reference to “partners” as referring to existing partners. If he was referring to AOL’s existing partners, then I’d speculate that he is thinking about a partnership with CitySearch (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=gesterling.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsearchengineland.com%2Fmapquest-integrates-citysearch-content-32309). But if AOL is keeping MapQuest, then MapQuest should first partner with AOL Local!

  5. We Could Be Lovers: AOL Courts Google & Microsoft Says:

    [...] predicted on my personal blog that MapQuest would be outsourced to Microsoft and I think that’s a reasonable scenario and [...]

  6. Bing to take over MapQuest? It’s possible. « Mapping Blog Says:

    [...] article over on Screenwerk today seems to think that Microsoft may start powering the engine behind MapQuest, similar to how [...]

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