In a blog post announcing “Q2 2015 Progress Report On Our Product Prioritization“, Yahoo has announced that among other things, it is shutting down its 8 year old Yahoo Maps program. There’s no word on what Yahoo plans to do instead, but does say that for some properties it will “continue to support maps”:
The Yahoo Maps site will close at the end of June. However, in the context of Yahoo search and on several other Yahoo properties including Flickr, we will continue to support maps. We made this decision to better align resources to Yahoo’s priorities as our business has evolved since we first launched Yahoo Maps eight years ago.
It seems likely that Yahoo would partner with another company, much as it has done with the somewhat tumultuous Bing Search Alliance, to provide mapping services. With Yahoo’s recent moves to bolster its presence on mobile, it would be hard to imagine them moving forward without some kind of mapping solution.
Mapping services are currently in flux with the recent announcement that Nokia’s HERE Maps could be up for sale. Microsoft has used Nokia’s location services for years to power its own mapping solutions, and while Uber is thought to be in the lead in the race to acquire HERE Maps, the Redmond company is apparently interested in acquiring at least a minority stake.
A move to partner with Google and their industry leading Google Maps could signal that Yahoo could be preparing a broader move to break the binds of the Bing alliance, even though Microsoft and Yahoo have extended their search deal for the next five years, and Yahoo could face fierce scrutiny with any move towards Yahoo.
Could Yahoo move instead to use a Microsoft maps solution? That appears unlikely, given Microsoft’s uncertain relationship with Nokia’s location services, and the arms-length approach that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has with Microsoft. Perhaps a Uber-Yahoo relationship, with Uber buying out HERE Maps and licensing technologies to Yahoo be in the works? One thing is for certain, this will be an interesting space to watch.Further reading: Bing Maps, Microsoft, Yahoo