Microsoft has reportedly invested more than $100 million in the latest financing round for Uber, which has raised nearly $1 billion in new funding for the ride-hailing startup, now the most valuable private company in the world with a $51 billion valuation, ahead of Xiaomi and Airbnb.
Following a Wall Street Journal report that says Microsoft participated in the latest funding round for Uber, Bloomberg now cites a source familiar with the matter that Microsoft has invested $137 million in the company founded by CEO Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp.
"We filed to authorize this new funding more than two months ago," Kristin Carvell, spokesperson for Uber, says. "The filing is available to the public. We aren't commenting on additional speculation."
Exactly why Microsoft invested in Uber is unknown, but the Redmond, WA-based software company is known to lay its money down for companies it wants to partner with. In May, the New York Times reported that the latest funding round was intended primarily for Uber to form partnerships as opposed to expansion purposes.
Microsoft and Uber already have a couple of partnerships made prior to the investment. The company sold a portion of its Bing mapping service to Uber, which is something that the startup had always been looking into developing. The deal also includes the acquisition of about a hundred or so Microsoft employees working on Bing Maps' data analysis and image acquisition.
Also, the two companies have agreed to integrate Uber with Cortana, Microsoft's smart personal digital assistant, as a way to automate ride-hailing even further, as Cortana can be made to request an Uber ride when it sees that the user has a flight, meeting or any other appointment to catch.
The investment could also be seen as a stab at Google, which invested $250 million in Uber in 2013, but the Google and Uber have seen a growing rift as Google might be launching its own Uber competitor by purchasing an Israel-based ride-hailing startup while Uber also develops its own self-driving cars after poaching 40 researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center.