MapQuest Confirms It’s Using Mapbox To Overhaul Its Product

By Natasha Lomas
June 15, 2015

AOL-owned MapQuest has con­firmed a big prod­uct and brand over­haul for its map­ping prod­uct, includ­ing a part­ner­ship with devel­op­er map­ping plat­form Map­box to improve the product’s per­for­mance. We report­ed these updates were incom­ing last month. (AOL also owns TechCrunch of course.)

MapQuest said today the Map­box part­ner­ship would be used to bring “ful­ly adapt­able, fast-load­ing, and respon­sive maps” to MapQuest. It also con­firmed a “sig­nif­i­cant num­ber” of prod­uct updates are on the slate for this year — with both its con­sumer apps and devel­op­er tools set to get attention.

There had been rumors that AOL might be shut­ter­ing MapQuest giv­en the elim­i­na­tion of two key posi­tions from the team. But, as we not­ed in May, it is in fact pour­ing more resources into prod­uct updates — such as per­for­mance boosts, tablet-opti­mized ver­sions and new mobile fea­tures — while offload­ing the map ren­der­ing piece to Map­box. MapQuest’s own devel­op­er tools are also get­ting a spit and pol­ish — in a bid to dri­ve usage and rev­enue. TechCrunch under­stands that MapQuest makes the major­i­ty of its rev­enues from b2b sales.

MapQuest said today its mar­ket­share of the U.S. con­sumer mar­ket has held at around a fifth, although in the past year it notes see­ing the “first year-over-year traf­fic growth since 2007″ (cit­ing Com­Score num­bers) — which per­haps explains its push to pol­ish the prod­uct now. It also notes its b2b ser­vices are con­tin­u­ing to grow cus­tomer num­bers and rev­enue, year-over-year. (We under­stand it has a “cou­ple of thou­sand” cus­tomers for its enter­prise ser­vices at this stage.)

Maps are of course huge­ly cen­tral to the mobile expe­ri­ence, so usage heat­ing up for MapQuest is like­ly more a mea­sure of wider shift-to-mobile indus­try trends than any spe­cial mer­it in the prod­uct. AOL will be hop­ing that pour­ing a lit­tle more prod­uct-tar­get­ed resource in, and out­sourc­ing ren­der­ing to a map­ping spe­cial­ist to improve per­for­mance, can spark some more sub­stan­tial growth — albeit the space remains huge­ly com­pet­i­tive, with Google and Apple duk­ing it out for mobile dom­i­nance on their respec­tive plat­forms. But a fifth of a grow­ing pie would still size out to a big­ger slice.

More on the sto­ry at TechCrunch

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