Computer giant Apple is reportedly involved in initial talks to acquire the Israeli mapping and navigation application Waze for between $400 and $500 million.
Technology industry sources estimate that Waze is worth around $1 billion, meaning that Waze is likely to try to get Apple to increase its offer, according to Israel Hayom. If a deal is reached, it would be one of the most expensive acquisitions of 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 has been plagued with problems, and acquiringWaze was a possible solution suggested by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Google’s mapping and navigation application, used by the Google-owned Android phone, is currently the most popular among smartphone users. With the Android the biggest competitor to Apple’s iPhone, Apple has been seeking to bring its own mapping application up to Google’s standard.
There are already 35 million Waze users around the world, and the application currently supports Apple’s iPhone, Android, and other phones. If the reported deal goes through, Apple would be able to add features to Waze and eventually make it part of its operating system.