Is Apple Inc. attempting to compensate for the failure of its maps application by buying one of the most popular navigation apps on the market, Waze, developed by Israeli start-up Waze Mobile? According to a report on technology website TechCrunch and Israeli website NewsGeek, the technology giant is in talks to buy the navigation app for $400 million. Representatives of both companies declined to comment.
Waze Mobile offers an application for smartphones, tablet computers, and in-car systems that provides navigation on roads in Israel and several other countries, with information on traffic congestion, police patrols, accidents, stuck vehicles and speed cameras provided by users who belong to this social network.
Waze was founded in 2009. Last October, it announced that it had raised $30 million from Horizon Ventures, belonging to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund, and iFund. Horizon Ventures was an investor in Facebook. Altogether, Waze Mobile has raised $67 million. Other investors in the company are Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Vertex Venture Capital. The company has over 20 million subscribers, and is active in 45 countries.
If the report turns out to be correct, this will not be the first acquisition bid for Waze. It was reported in August that Facebook was in talks to buy the Israeli company. Waze already has a form of collaboration with Apple, as together with navigation device and software company TomTom is provides traffic updates, and apparently also maps, for Apple's navigation program.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 2, 2013
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