Remember the Apple-Google Maps debacle? — Apple knocks the default Google Maps app out of its iOS 6.0 operating system and replaces it with Apple Maps. The Apple Maps app turns out to be a terrible product, driving people to wrong locations. Tim Cook apologizes. Google promises to bounce back with its own app. And it returns handsomely with iOS Google Maps app, which is still holding the top spot in the iTunes App Store.
This fight between tech giants Apple and Google served startups with an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Early startups in the mapping field saw more downloads and newer ones — like Maps+ and AR Maps — emerged immediately as an alternative to Google Maps and Apple Maps — although Google crushed their plans by launching the much sought-after iOS version of Google Maps.
But looks like Apple has learned a lesson here. Now the rumors are rife that Apple is planning to buy a startup company to improve its own Apple Maps and to give Google a run for their money. Waze is the startup company Apple is planning to acquire. It offers a community-based iOS app with mapping feature similar to Apple Maps and Google Maps.
If the rumors are true, we can expect Apple to swallow their pride and buy Waze app and its team for $400 million. Add to that another $100 million in incentives — that’s almost $500 million to Waze to help improve Apple Maps.
For that kind of money, Apple can buy Foursquare, isn’t it? Mike from TechCrunch shares his view and some concrete information on why Apple should not buy FourSquare:
Waze turned mapping into not only a game, but also a way for drivers to be social, reporting road obstacles, traffic and police traps. It is properly useful. It would also cost Apple northwards of $500M+ to buy Foursquare (which has raised $71 million is known to be raising another round), and gain, what? The location of restaurants, bars and airports?
And buying Waze makes sense because:
Waze’s international use has been growing because it is genuinely useful, especially in places where Maps remain a problem, such as in Asia and the Middle East. Because Waze maps are built on the location of moving cars, it’s far more accurate than check-in apps. Outside of Google’s project to map cities with Streetview cars – something which has taken years to complete – and the real-world mapping undertaken by volunteers on the Open Streetmaps open source project, there has been little to match Waze’s approach.
If Apple does not have a solid product, they would of course buy a company which does. Waze has built a social community around its app and earns revenue through ads. Although the startup makes less than $1 million through advertisement, it’s going to be a dream come true if they are going to join hands with Apple. Users, as usual, are guaranteed to get a solid mapping app out of this collaboration.