Apple confirms acquisition of WiFiSlam

Apple confirms acquisition of WiFiSlam

Summary: Apple's acquisition of Silicon Valley startup WiFiSlam has been confirmed.

TOPICS: Apple, Wi-Fi

Maker of mapping applications for mobile devices WiFiSlam has been acquired by tech giant Apple.

Originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, the deal was quoted based on a "person familiar with the matter." A spokesperson later confirmed the acquisition, saying that Apple "buys smaller technology companies from time to time," but declined to discuss the matter further.

Rumors suggest that the iPad and iPhone maker paid approximately $20 million for the firm, as stated under funding on WiFiSlam's investment page on AngelList. One of WiFiSlam's co-founders is Joseph Huang, a former Google software engineering intern.

The company's product description reads:

"Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings.

We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking."

Maps have long been a sore spot for Apple, especially as large tech firms are now scrabbling to offer better map applications for users of their smartphones and tablets. WiFiSlam's indoor GPS tracking could be used to shore up Apple's defense against Google, which already offers indoor mapping for places including airports. Apple's original iOS mapping service met with poor reviews and criticisms over inaccuracy, and after an apology from CEO Tim Cook, the company has strived to improve it.

Google released an independent mapping application for iOS devices in mid-December, and received its first update this month.

Topics: Apple, Wi-Fi

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  • WiFiSlam Gone??

    Maybe it is just me, but is every trace of WiFiSlam gone??

    It was an Android-only demo app because Apple prohibited wifi scanning apps. I guess I see why now. Apple had better pray the patents those folks have are strong because they have stirred up the venture guys that it is real, and made it possible for a gazillion competitors to jump in with them. Apple, and possibly the rest of the big boys will be employing squads of lawyers to make sure that nobody duplicates the obvious way to get every app developer on the planet into the game by providing not only an SDK, but easy to use "build demos" on smartphones.

    My bet is on Google,, because they will leave table droppings for the small apps developers, while Apple will tightly control and insist that every morsel of profit go to them. What Apple is really terrified about is if this stuff becomes HTML5, phone and browser neutral -- their business model only works of they are in strict control.