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Uber, Tesla Energize Mapping Sector As Deal Buzz Spreads

The digital mapping industry is suddenly the scene of intense activity, as new tech powerhouses like Uber and Tesla Motors as well as startups jostle to develop new mapping services to reduce their reliance on industry leader Google Maps.

The fervor has fueled poaching of experienced mapping engineers and is stoking expectations of major acquisitions by new players looking to catch up or go global. That includes Uber, electric car firm Tesla Motors and Asian tech giants like Alibaba, Samsung Electronics and Baidu, some of which already have acquired Asia-based mapping services. Possible targets include Nokia’s Here and TomTom, which provides data to Apple Maps and others.

There’s also a new initiative at Apple Maps that hasn’t previously been disclosed.

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“If location is core to your app, you better control the experience,” says Eric Gundersen, CEO of Mapbox, whose maps and location data are used by companies like Pinterest, Foursquare and Scoot, a scooter-sharing app.

Amir Efrati commented on this article.
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People at Google say Google Maps lost most of its users on the iPhone and iPad after the 2012 launch of Apple Maps, which became the default maps app.