Everyone wants to know: which major tech company is going to acquire Waze, the crowdsourced mapping data company? Well, new reports indicate that it likely won’t be Facebook, with AllThingsD reporting that talks between the two companies broke down over whether the Israel-based startup would relocate to Menlo Park, Calif. among other issues.
Earlier reports this month said that Facebook was interested in acquiring the startup for as much as $1 billion, and as my colleauge Mathew Ingram noted, the combination would have made a lot of sense for Facebook, which is slowly acquiring a good deal of user location data but doesn’t yet have a standalone mapping product of its own like Google or Apple.
So if it looks like Facebook won’t be acquiring Waze, it raises the question as to who might be next in line. Mathew argued that Google would have been stupid to let Facebook make the move, since Google Maps is one of the company’s core products that users know and love — as evidenced by the Apple Maps debacle. Bloomberg reported this month that Google was interested in making a bid, and it’s possible that talks with Facebook breaking down could give the older company an edge.
But Apple would have an equally compelling interest in Waze, considering the still-lagging Apple Maps product, which CEO Tim Cook acknowledged Tuesday night, “We screwed up there.” There’s no question that Apple is still playing catch-up when it comes to building a robust mapping service, and Waze could certainly help further this goal. But is Apple going to make the move? Cook said Tuesday that Apple has not made a bid. But that certainly doesn’t mean the company won’t make one in the future.