) has reportedly acquired HopStop.com Inc. and Locationary Inc.
to improve its mapping services. However, the financials
associated with the deals were not disclosed.
The current acquisitions follow Apple's takeover of WiFiSLAM,
a provider of indoor mapping application technology in March this
N.Y.-based HopStop.com provides direction-based application
for the iOS and
) Android operating system. The application helps users find
real-time directions to reach a destination by foot, bike, subway
or car by the fastest possible route. The application can
reportedly be used in more than 500 cities across the globe.
The other acquired entity, Toronto-based Locationary Inc.
authenticates the existence of a local business that any mapping
service can locate in real time. Currently, Apple uses
) service for this purpose.
Traditionally, Apple has been using Google maps in its
iOS-based devices. The company had been contemplating an entry
into the market for a long time and had bought Placebase (Sep
2009), Poly9 (Jul, 2010), and C3 Technologies (Aug 2011) in order
to boost its technology.
Although Apple released its mapping application with iPhone 5
in 2012, the botched up service received a fair bit of criticism,
primarily due to inaccurate data. Since then, Apple has been
focusing on improving the service and these acquisitions will
significantly help it in this regard.
Moreover, it would help the company to compete with Google's
mapping service, which continues to dominate the market segment
to-date. To maintain the lead in the mapping services market,
Google recently acquired Waze Inc.
Apple has a knack for acquiring small start-up technology
companies that can be synergized with its current product
portfolio. Moreover, these acquisitions enable Apple to deliver
ready-made solutions and technological know-how for specific
problems. We believe that this acquisition policy would benefit
the company in the long run.
Other than this, Apple's ability to gain traction in
developing nations, where the market is more cost-sensitive, will
determine the company's fortunes in the future. Additionally,
Apple's loyal customer base coupled with its solid balance sheet
and robust revenues bode well for the company.
However, Apple continues to face significant competition from
the likes of Samsung and
) in most of the markets it operates. Lack of product innovation
and product delays could cast a shadow over Apple's growth
opportunities in the near term.
Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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