Microsoft is looking into making its presence felt in the self-driving car market by moving to invest in mapping technologies that would influence how these vehicles perform in the future. Microsoft is not the only company at the table: Amazon is also playing ball. According to Daimler, the German car manufacturer that owns Mercedes-Benz, both Microsoft and Amazon are hoping to win the contract for HERE, the mapping services for automotive vehicles.
This comes as a surprise since it not too long ago, HERE announced that its mapping platform would no longer support Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft courting the HERE contract like this could convince the company to return to the world of Windows now that the operating system is taking off. (For those who have not been keeping up, Nokia sold HERE Maps to a set of German automakers for $3 billion. These companies include the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.)
Why is Microsoft truly interested in getting in the mix with HERE? Well, according to Daimler, it is seeking a partner that can provide cloud services for the purpose of data collection. As it stands right now, Microsoft and Amazon are the frontrunners due to their sizable shares of the cloud services market.
“We are talking to Amazon, Microsoft, and many automakers,” Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member in charge of research and development, told the Wall Street Journal. “We need a cloud provider to handle the huge amounts of data created by HERE and its users. We haven’t taken any decisions yet.”
It should be interesting to see if Microsoft will be able to overcome Amazon and take the mantle in this space. Amazon has experienced incredible success with its AWS platform, and despite Microsoft’s Azure platform, it is not on the same level. Getting in bed with HERE would also inch Microsoft into closer competition with Google in the automotive space.