New speculation suggests that Apple is looking to acquire crowd-sourced navigation app Waze. This follows rumours that Apple and Foursquare have been in talks about a maps partnership to take on Google.
Already a free iOS app, Waze is described as a "fun, community-based traffic and navigation app," by its developers, and boasts 30 million users. It's also already a data partner for the new, and widely criticised, mapping service launched by Apple with iOS 6 last year, and the TechCrunch notes that it was the only app to significantly gain market share after the Apple Mapsgate.
When Apple's CEO Tim Cook apologised for the poor quality of its Maps in September 2012, Waze was one of the alternative services suggested by the company until Apple Maps was up to scratch. With Waze, users can share traffic information to help other drivers plan the fastest routes.
While Apple and Waze have refused to comment, a source told TechCrunch that the negotiations between the two companies are "advanced" but a price has yet to be agreed. According to the source, Waze is asking for $750 million, but Apple is willing to give $400 million plus $100 million in incentives.
TechCrunch notes that Apple may be more likely to choose Waze over Foursquare because of its international growth. While Foursquare is big in the US, here in the UK it has not been as successful. Plus, Waze uses the more accurate process of recording the location of moving cars to build its maps, unlike the check-in method used by Foursquare.
Prior to Apple Maps' release, Waze CEO Noam Bardin warned Business Insider that it would be poor. "Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player," he said. "They're now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they're competing against Google, which has the highest data set."
"What's going to happen with the Apple maps is that you're literally not going to find things," Bardin accurately predicted back in September. "When you do find them, they might be in the wrong place or position geographically. And if you do have it, the route to it may not be the optimal route."
In December, Google launched its Maps app in the iOS App Store, and it was clearly a welcome addition for iOS users, who downloaded the app more than 10 million times within 48 hours. The app also sparked a 29 per cent rise in iOS adoption.
Apple has promised to continue improving its Maps, so the acquisition of a mapping app such as Waze could mean a much more reliable service.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.