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Microsoft closes book on online map deal

The software giant says it has completed a $96 million acquisition of Vicinity, the maker of online mapping service Mapblast.com.

Microsoft said Thursday that it has completed a $96 million acquisition of Vicinity, the maker of online mapping service Mapblast.com.

The software giant announced its intention to acquire Vicinity in October. The completion of the deal, expected by April of next year, came earlier than expected.

Vicinity's products will become part of Microsoft's MapPoint service, which offers online directions through the MSN site. Microsoft said the merged MapPoint business group will focus on incorporating "location intelligence" into a wide range of business and consumer software applications.

For instance, Microsoft may embed Vicinity's geographic data analysis application, designed as a marketing tool, into its forthcoming customer relationship management software package.

Microsoft on Thursday released a new version of its MapPoint product, a software development tool that allows businesses to add mapping capabilities to their applications. With online mapping, people can get a map or directions through devices such as personal digital assistants and cell phones. MapPoint .Net 3.0 expands the geographic coverage of maps offered through MapPoint both in Europe and North America and includes more business listings and points of interest.

As a result of the Vicinity deal, Vicinity shareholders will receive $3.33 in cash in exchange for each share of Vicinity common stock.