Uber's first-ever public acquisition, maps firm deCarta, will lessen reliance on Apple, Google

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
Ridesharing startup Uber has finally shown its hand in the mergers and acquisitions market, picking up small navigation and geospatial services firm deCarta in a move that some say is designed to help Uber lessen its dependence on mapping services from Apple and Google.




deCarta -- which provides widely-used platforms for routing, turn-by-turn navigation, and local search, among others -- will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber and retain the majority of its employees. The deal was first reported by Mashable.

"A lot of the functionality that makes the Uber app so reliable, affordable and seamless is based on mapping technologies," an Uber representative told the publication. "With the acquisition of deCarta, we will continue to fine-tune our products and services that rely on maps -- for example UberPOOL, the way we compute ETAs, and others - and make the Uber experience even better for our users."

Mapping has become somewhat of a thorn in Uber's side, with occasionally inaccurate routing causing problems for drivers and customers, highlighting the danger of depending on external vendors for such core functionality. It also raises business continuity issues that Uber can now afford to address with its nealry $6 billion warchest.

To deal with the situation, Uber has been in the process of building a formidable internal geo team, notably flipping former Apple Maps senior engineer Chris Blumenberg last July. The deCarta acquisition -- Uber's first publicly acknowledged pickup -- adds significant depth of expertise, as the firm has been in the space for nearly 20 years.

The move also comes at a time when Uber is preparing for a multi-front battle with Google, a major investor. Google is reportedly exploring the launch of an Uber-like service, while Uber is working on autonomous vehicle technology to rival that coming from Mountain View.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,575member
    Who knew cartography would make such a comeback?
  • Reply 2 of 23
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Personally, I'd like to see Uber go out of business.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Personally, I'd like to see Uber go out of business.

    Me, too.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,575member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Personally, I'd like to see Uber go out of business.

    Because of their executives?
  • Reply 5 of 23
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Because of their executives?

    Because of their unethical business tactics.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    freshmakerfreshmaker Posts: 517member

    In Atlanta they've been great so far.  Much prefer them to a taxi.  Not sure why they want to move away from Apple/Google for mapping service.  Those two would have to be the biggest and the best I'd think.

  • Reply 7 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,575member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Because of their unethical business tactics.

    I readily admit I'm not that familiar with them or their service. All I know is they are one of the fastest growing companies ever.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I readily admit I'm not that familiar with them or their service. All I know is they are one of the fastest growing companies ever.

    They've basically done denial of service attacks on competing companies by flooding them with fake pickups. This not only hurts their competitors, but also hurts the customers of their competitors. Their tactics are far worse than anything I've seen from Samsung or Google. Stealing from the world's largest company is unethical, but having giants fight over IP isn't exactly affecting us directly; but Uber is going after small companies and affecting their customers directly. I simply can't support that.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    solipsismy wrote: »
    They've basically done denial of service attacks on competing companies by flooding them with fake pickups. This not only hurts their competitors, but also hurts the customers of their competitors. Their tactics are far worse than anything I've seen from Samsung or Google. Stealing from the world's largest company is unethical, but having giants fight over IP isn't exactly affecting us directly; but Uber is going after small companies and affecting their customers directly. I simply can't support that.

    They seem like a perfect aquisition target for GOOG. Maybe Eric Schmidt can offer to help them.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    sog35 wrote: »
    I don't get it.  Why doesn't Lyft just charge $20 fee for a 'customer' that has more than 5 cancelled rides in a short period of time?  That would kill of this scam real fast.

    My guess is that you don't have to have some sort of verified account with a credit/debit card on file before requesting a ride. I don't think they need to go that far, if they just have users sign up they should know repeat customers are real customers based on the user account in which they accessed their app or website. But that wouldn't help new customers. This isn't Lyft's fault.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,575member
    sog35 wrote: »
    I don't get it.  Why doesn't Lyft just charge $20 fee for a 'customer' that has more than 5 cancelled rides in a short period of time?  That would kill of this scam real fast.

    Or I suppose they could hold the ride fee in escrow until the customer used the service and then charge a cancellation fee.

    The disadvantage though would be that Über hasn't charged cancellation fees, right? So they would still be in a better position, unless their competitors pulled the same tactics on them.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Personally, I'd like to see Uber go out of business.

    Why? :???: 

     

    (I see you provided an answer above).

  • Reply 13 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Because of their executives?




    Because of their unethical business tactics.

     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    I readily admit I'm not that familiar with them or their service. All I know is they are one of the fastest growing companies ever.




    They've basically done denial of service attacks on competing companies by flooding them with fake pickups. This not only hurts their competitors, but also hurts the customers of their competitors. Their tactics are far worse than anything I've seen from Samsung or Google. Stealing from the world's largest company is unethical, but having giants fight over IP isn't exactly affecting us directly; but Uber is going after small companies and affecting their customers directly. I simply can't support that.

    If that were the criterion, a lot of companies should go out of business.

     

    I am not a fan of the company (I've never used their service), and I think they do push some ethical boundaries, but some of their moves are just hardball business tactics that many similar scrappy companies adopt. They've been caught out on some of it, and have changed their behavior.

     

    They do offer a very valuable service to the millions of people who seem to swear by them, providing an alternative to expensive or filthy or smelly or often unavailable taxi services in cities like Manhattan, Chicago, and SF. They are also getting into the 'mom car' market in  a big way, which would make life easier of millions of soccer moms in this country.

  • Reply 14 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,575member
    The Uber model should be used in all industries to bring service competition to the customer instead of expecting the customer to dig for a provider of services.

    Imagine Uber for lawn care, plumbing services, tutoring, grocery delivery, tailoring, etc., etc....
  • Reply 15 of 23
    sector7gsector7g Posts: 155member
    Uber on IOS still uses google maps, not sure how moving away from apple maps makes this headline, unless apple maps is used for the driver app
  • Reply 16 of 23
    I have been on a couple of hundred Uber rides over the past 3 years and have never had a bad experience.

    I travel all over the place for work and despise using yellow cabs. They are generally run down, smell bad, and the drivers have trouble with English. There are exceptions of course but Uber is exponentially better than the old model. Most of my cab related conflicts have to do with the drivers not wanting to take credit cards after saying it isn't a problem at pickup but I would say that the experience is pretty miserable.

    I am comfortable enough with Uber than I send my wife and clients on rides using both UberX and Uber black cars. I can watch the trip, see the driver, and can easily get in touch with them by text or phone if I have issues or need to change plans.

    I used to have a car service in both TN and TX for airport runs and have cancelled both in favor of Uber since it is easier to manage and I have not had any billing issues.

    To me it seems likely that people that dislike Uber or Lyft have something to lose from their success.

    I am just a consumer of the service, do not own Uber stock, don't drive, and am in no way connected to their space.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Personally, I'd like to see Uber go out of business.



    I love using Uber.  Every airport run, business trip or night out for dinner and drinks goes on either Uber or Lyft.  

     

    The only time that I would ever resort to using a Yellow Cab is if I am in a big city and only have to go a short distance.  

     

    Yellow Cabs tend to be dirty, old and have a lower quality of driver than the ride share apps use.  As a bonus the cost is normally under half of what you would pay in a cab.  



    I get why medallion owners would hate Uber.  I have no idea why a consumer would want to go back to the old model.

  • Reply 18 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Who knew cartography would make such a comeback?

    Tallest Skil

  • Reply 19 of 23
    lymflymf Posts: 65member
    Talking of Uber, in Brussels (Belgium), the government is looking into legalising the service (which works great I must say), and of course the taxi drivers went on strike, have huge stickers on their car saying "this is not an illegal taxi" etc... Yet, at night, you pay 5€ 6$) just to enter the cab, and then pay per time and distance for a service where the guy is often not nice, aggressively driving, trying to take longer roads when they see you don't know the way, not accepting credit cards or any type of cards which can increase the costs if the cab has to stop in front of an ATM for the time you get some cash out, often "not having the change to give you back", even trying to push customers to do the road "off the record" for a predefined price, commenting on people's clothes in the street and even sometimes involved in fights (one actually assaulted a friend of mine for no reason other than my friend said: "hey you're gonna drive me over" to a cab driver parking his car... )
    Then they wonder why Uber grows that fast? Just stop trying to scam people with an expensive low quality service.

    The road to the airport is 50€, 55$... for 25-30 minutes. That's over 100$ an hour. For that price I expect someone who has a degree in hostelry. Uber? Under 20€. People are nicer. Drive smoother. Offer you candy and water bottles. No brainer.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    cuencapcuencap Posts: 99member
    The Uber model should be used in all industries to bring service competition to the customer instead of expecting the customer to dig for a provider of services.

    Imagine Uber for lawn care, plumbing services, tutoring, grocery delivery, tailoring, etc., etc....

    There is an app for that: housecall. Currently available in San Diego (and expanding), I can schedule nearly any home repair type thru the app.
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