Clearly we're not the only ones that were paying attention with Mapbox's product that can fuel all kinds of mapping needs within web and mobile apps: AOL's Mapquest has inked a deal with the mapping company to power its UI.
The partnership will be limited to the visual rendering of the maps and the hard data will still be delivered via other partners such as TomTom and OpenStreetMap. Developers will remain on staff to build exclusive features on
And yes, Mapquest does still it exist! It has been trying different routes throughout the past year, such as exploring partnerships that would increase the utility of the service. The division continues to move forward as it tries to navigate through the current travel tech landscape — although its future might very well be threatened by the recent Verizon acquisition of AOL.
An anonymous tweet suggested that Mapquest would continue to operate by handing over the mapping functionality to Mapbox, similar to the way that Travelocity became powered by Expedia. This would allow the mapping product to continue to evolve without the ongoing investment necessary for accurate maps over time.
It would be a coup for Mapbox to take over more core functionality of one of the last vestiges of the dot-com boom. AOL bought MapQuest for $1.1. billion back in 1999 and, even though the business hasn't thrived as much since then, Mapquest still has a significant number of users.
After all, Verizon is buying AOL for only $4.4 billion, one fourth of what AOL spent on MapQuest. There are clearly many areas within the company that are undervalued or under-leveraged, and Verizon certainly sees this as part of the purchase. It could also be wise for a mobile provider to have its own mapping product, or at least some way to further differentiate its services in a mostly commodified industry such as telecommunications.