) seems to have taken the mapping business seriously. Reportedly,
Apple recently acquired Embark, which offers mass transit
information of selected cities in Europe and the U.S. However,
the financials associated with the deal were not disclosed.
The current deal follows back-to-back acquisitions of
HopStop.com Inc. and Locationary Inc.in Jul 2013. These were
preceded by the takeover of WiFiSLAM, a provider of indoor
mapping application technology earlier this year.
Traditionally, Apple had been using
) maps in its iOS-based devices. The company had been eyeing the
market for a long time and bought C3 Technologies (Aug 2011),
Poly9 (Jul, 2010) and Place base (Sep 2009) to strengthen its
Apple's aggressive push into the mapping business is also
evident from the fact that it is continuously hiring mapping
experts to its current talent pool.
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.
However, at a time when Apple is facing tough competition from
), we believe the company needs to innovate to outsmart its
In this regard, we note that 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 over the long run.
Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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