Apple Inc. (
has acquired indoor mapping application technology provider
WiFiSLAM for approximately $20.0 million. The acquisition, first
reported by the Wall Street Journal, was later on confirmed by
Apple, although it denied providing any further details.
WiFiSLAM application enables smartphone users to identify
their location using Wi-FI signals, within 2.5 meters accurately.
Due to its accuracy, the technology has been quite popular with
indoor mapping developers. The acquisition is expected to boost
Apple's location-based mapping initiatives going forward.
Apple has been using
maps in its iOS-based devices, contemplating entry into the
market for a long time. Despite making a number of acquisitions
that include Placebase (Sep 2009), Poly9 (Jul, 2010), and C3
Technologies (Aug 2011), Apple released its mapping application
with iPhone 5 in 2012.
However, 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 the WiFiSLAM
acquisition will significantly help it in this regard. Moreover,
the acquisition will help Apple to enter the indoor mapping
market, where Google already has a strong hold.
Additionally, the WiFiSLAM acquisition will enable Apple to
develop applications that will help retailers to track customers'
in-store activity on a real-time basis. This will help retailers
to find ways to improve customer engagement, which will
ultimately boost sales. Most importantly, retailers can use this
data to promote their products on social networking sites such as
WiFiSLAM technology can also be used by Apple to enter the
location-based social networking market, which emphasizes on
discovering users within close proximity. The market is expected
to grow to $1.9 billion in revenues by 2016, which represents a
huge opportunity for Apple in our view.
Apple continues to face significant competition from the likes
of Samsung, and
in most of the markets it operates. However, lack of product
innovation casts a shadow over Apple's growth opportunities in
the near term.
Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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