Apple Acquires Indoor GPS Company "WifiSLAM" for $20M
Apple recently closed a deal that was worth roughly $20 million to acquire WifiSLAM, a firm focused on building technology that affords users positioning data while indoors. The Wall Street Journal
was able to confirm the acquisition with an Apple spokesman, though the company didn’t give details of the deal or what it plans to do with WifiSLAM’s “indoor GPS” technology.
According to the spokesman who declined to comment further, "[Apple] buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” In the report, the publication cited people who claimed to be familiar with the acquisition as saying Apple paid some $20 million in the recently closed deal.
Those of you who are unfamiliar with it, WifiSLAM is a developer of indoor positioning technologies, which extends location data to the inside of buildings and other structures using Wi-Fi signals. The data can be used by third-party apps to accurately grant handset users positioning data where GPS signals tend to be absent. The startup is roughly two years and old and has already raised funding from angel investors, though the exact amount is unknown. WifiSLAM also has a number of ties to Google, including the company’s co-founder, Joseph Huang, who was previously a software engineering intern at the search giant. Currently Google employee Don Dodge is also listed as one of the angel investors.
The Cupertino California company could possibly implement the positioning assets into its iOS Maps app as an answer to Google’s Indoor Maps initiative, which leverages crowdsourcing to deliver indoor location information for a number of locations worldwide. While Apple’s first-party mapping service has seen improvements since stumbling out of the gates in September 2012, many users still prefer to use the Google Maps iOS app, which offers features like Street View and a more robust set of satellite imagery.
We’ll just have to wait and be patient to see how Apple ends up utilizing the assets of their new acquisition.
Source: The Wall Street Journal