This recruitment is part of a Microsoft initiative to work with OpenStreetMap.
“As a Principal Architect for Bing Mobile, Steve will help develop better mapping experiences for our customers and partners, and lead efforts to engage with OpenStreetMap and other open source and open data projects. As a first step in this engagement, we plan to enable access to Bing's global orthorectified aerial imagery, as a backdrop of OSM editors. Also, Microsoft is working on new tools to better enable contributions to OSM.”
Microsoft started to show interest publicly in OpenStreetMap last August when integrating OSM data as a layer in Bing Maps (read here).
We will see how this link with OSM develops in the future; nevertheless Microsoft has first and foremost a strong partnership with commercial data vendor NAVTEQ. In December 2009 the two companies signed a technology agreement “to support technological advancements in data collection” (read here). Prior to that, early 2009, Microsoft had renewed a multi-year license agreement with NAVTEQ to access the 74 countries of its mal database as well as related content such as business listings, pedestrian attributes or NAVTEQ voice (read here).