Microsoft has acquired UK based map service Multimap for a rumoured £25 million. With online map services being a frequently visited resource by browsers, this appears to be Microsoft's attempt to hook into the UK/EU map market, where it has a very small foothold with its late appearance to that sector.
I like many others, used Multimap extensively and exclusively back in the 2000 – 2005 era.
Sadly, Multimap did not seem to evolve, yes there were changes to the website and the use of the mapping tools. The main change that I encountered was the increase of adverts, which combined with a general slow down of the website; it really was a pain to use on my NT4 – IE5.5 machine.
Admittedly, it has all changed again and now has that smooth and slick feeling to it, using Ajax and drag-drop scrolling. There are still some adverts on the website and when I last visited it attempted to open a popup window.
Was it all too little, too late?
When Google maps appeared on the scene, it changed how maps were used and accessed online. Gone was the continual refreshing of the page and trying to focus on a place that was halfway between two sections of a map. It was quicker and less cluttered and didn't offer you cheap hotels on every screen.
I would guess Microsoft would be looking to link in this newly acquired service with its existing products, so expect Live Search to make an appearance soon along with the advertise side of things when the current contracts end.