In a move that could intensify the battle between Android and
iOS, Apple (NASDAQ:
) has reportedly acquired an indoor GPS company to begin mapping
malls, airports and other hotspots. According to
The Wall Street Journal
, Apple may have paid as much as $20 million for WiFiSLAM, a
While the deal has not been announced publicly, there are
already signs that the company is under new management.
The company's Twitter page,
, has not been updated with a new tweet since January 23. That
account links to
, which appears to have been shut down.
, which runs a platform for startups, has updated its listing of
it had been acquired
Founded by Joseph Huang (a former software engineer intern at
Google), Jessica Tsoong, Darin Tay and Dave Millman, WiFiSLAM
developed technology to pinpoint a smartphone's location within
2.5 meters. The company uses ambient Wi-Fi signals (which are
already present in many buildings) to provide this info in
By acquiring WiFiSLAM, Apple will be able to bring indoor maps
of malls, airports, convention halls and other indoor complexes
Apple is not the first company to explore the possibilities of
indoor maps, however. Two years ago, Google (NASDAQ:
) announced that it would bring indoor maps exclusively to its
mobile phone platform, Android.
IKEA, Mall of America and Home Depot (NYSE:
) were among the first businesses Google supported with indoor
maps. Chicago O'Hare, San Francisco International and
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were some of the
first airports supported by the initiative.
Google, which employs
more than 53,000 people
, developed most of its mapping technology in-house. While Apple
has more individuals on its payroll (
as of October 2012), the company has enlisted in the help of
outsiders to build and tweak its various mapping tools.
Apple stunned the world when it announced that Google Maps
would not be included as the default maps app with iOS 6. The
iPhone maker replaced Google Maps with its own application (which
was simply titled "Maps"), promising users that it would
a "better way" for users to find their destination.
That goal proved to be a greater challenge than Apple
anticipated, leading to a legion of complaints and an
from the company's CEO, Tim Cook.
Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze (a community-based traffic and
navigation app for iOS and Android), was one of Apple's harshest
"Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player," he
, referring to TomTom (OTC:
). "They're now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and
they're competing against Google, which has the highest data
Months later, rumors circulated that Apple would swallow its
for as much as $400 million. That rumor
appears to have been false
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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