From DOS to floppy discs, Microsoft has seen a lot of changes over the years. Today we announce the end of another era. Microsoft has decided to discontinue Microsoft AutoRoute, Microsoft Streets & Trips and Microsoft MapPoint.
In 1988 Mark Atherton and Ian Mercer started building what would one day become the very popular Microsoft mapping software products. Together with Simon Anthony, Michael Biscoe-Taylor, and George Roussopolos the team, which started NextBase Limited, was self-funded and supplemented their efforts with outside jobs while they spent seven months coding what was to become the first version of AutoRoute.
At a time when most software was text-based and came on floppy disks, AutoRoute stood out with its emphasis on graphics. The beta release was given to a small number of journalists and spread like wildfire. In fact, at one time NextBase Limited estimated almost half of the computers in the UK were running a copy.
Based on promising feedback from early users, the team expanded the product beyond Great Britain to France and the Netherlands, and then the U.S. The consumer products were often the top-selling consumer application in the market. In 1994 Microsoft bought Nextbase and the Nextbase team moved to the US. Many on that team had long tenures at Microsoft including Peter Averill who is still a developer working on mapping at Microsoft. Other Nextbase developers still at Microsoft include Paul Harrington, Mark Atherton, and Andrew Haslam.
“The success of these products would never had happened were it not for the loyal and supportive fans who purchased the product and its various iterations over the years,” shares Larry Petersen, test lead for Microsoft Streets & Trips. “Speaking at RV rallies over the years, I’ve loved hearing about our avid customers’ experiences using the software to plan and enjoy road trips across North America. The feedback and enthusiasm from our users have helped make Microsoft travel planning software a leading solution for nearly twenty years.”
We so appreciate the support of our dedicated users over the years. It was a tough decision to discontinue Microsoft’s favorite mapping software products. The retirement of these products will not affect software already installed. Current users may continue to use Microsoft AutoRoute, Microsoft Streets & Trips and Microsoft MapPoint to plan their travel adventures and will have online support until at least July 2015.
Wishing you all safe and happy trails!