US: Apple has acquired indoor-GPS company WifiSLAM, a sign that the war over indoor mobile location services is heating up.
Apple paid around $20 million for the Silicon Valley-based company, according to a person familiar with the matter who said the deal closed recently.
An Apple spokesman confirmed the deal saying the company “buys smaller technology companies from time to time” and generally doesn’t discuss its plans. He declined to comment further. WifiSLAM could not immediately be reached for comment.
The two-year-old startup has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals. It has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps. The company has a handful of employees, and its co-founders include former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang.
The move comes as Apple continues to build its arsenal against Google in mapping. It debuted its own mapping service last year to poor reviews and user complaints about inaccurate data. Apple chief executive Tim Cook apologized for the quality of the product, and Apple has continued to improve it.
Google already offers indoor mapping in certain locations like airports, shopping centres and sports venues.
WifiSLAM has raised an unknown amount of money from a handful of angel investors including Google employee Don Dodge, according to investor site AngelList.