Placebase, Poly9, C3 Technologies and … Waze? The mobile navigation app with a social twist has a big following of its own with roughly 30 million users worldwide. But a report says that Apple is also in hot pursuit and looking to add the company to its stable of acquired map tech companies. Apple is looking to purchase Waze for a sum of $500 million, according to Techcrunch.
Update: Well, it appears Techcrunch is now disagreeing with itself. Another writer from the site now reports that the deal is “not actually happening.” We’ve also heard that the actual conversation between Apple and Waze has more to do with sharing data, and that Waze has been approached by other companies about acquisition.
Apple’s motivation to make such an acquisition is pretty obvious: the company’s own navigation app, Apple Maps, was not at all ready for prime time when it went live in September. Apple has apologized for the poor directions and incomplete location data, with CEO Tim Cook recently telling an interviewer that the company is fixing the app through software updates, but also vaguely mentioned the company’s “huge plan to make it even better.”
What is that “huge” plan besides periodic software upgrades? An acquisition of a popular mobile mapping app — which has access to millions of crowdsourced location data points from all over the world — could fit the bill. The size of Waze and its price tag also fit in with the type of acquisition Apple likes to do: small, private companies for relatively small (for Apple) costs. To date, Waze has raised $67 million in venture capital; Apple has a little over $120 billion in the bank.
Still, even if Apple is pursuing Waze, it’s not clear its offer of $500 million will cut it: the report indicates that Waze is looking for a deal roughly 50 percent higher than what Apple is offering, about $750 million.
This post was updated at 10:59 a.m. PT.