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Friday, January 4, 2013

Apple Reportedly in Talks to Buy Israeli Application Waze

Source: Israel Hayom
By Ilan Gattegno

Computer giant Apple is apparently involved in initial talks to acquire the Israeli mapping and navigation application Waze for between $400 million and $500 million.

Technology industry sources estimate that Waze is worth around $1 billion, meaning that it is likely Waze would try to get Apple to increase its offer. If a deal is reached, it would be one of the most expensive acquisitions prices for an Israeli company in recent years. Neither Apple nor Waze would comment on the matter.

Until now, $67 million has been invested in Waze by Israeli funds Vertex Venture Capital and Magma Venture Partners, as well as Kleiner Perkins from Silicon Valley and Li Ka-shing's Horizon Ventures, among others.

Apple's own mapping and navigation app for the iOS 6 was a failure, and Waze was one of the alternatives suggested by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Google's mapping and navigation application is currently the most popular among smartphone users. Apple would like to change this, since Google is the developer of the Android, the biggest competitor to Apple's iPhone.

There are already 35 million Waze users around the world and the application operates in conjunction with Apple. If the reported deal goes through, that level of cooperation would be upgraded. Apple would be able to add features to and later make it part of its operating system.

In contrast to American mapping companies, Waze has a strong hold in international markets.

An Apple spokesman said that the company would not respond to rumors or speculation.

Waze marketing official Yael Elish also would not respond, calling the reports "just rumors."

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