Apple acquires indoor location company WifiSLAM for $20 million

“Apple has acquired indoor-GPS company WifiSLAM, a sign that the war over indoor mobile location services is heating up,” Jessica E. Lessin reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“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” Lessin reports. “An Apple spokesman confirmed the deal saying the company ‘buys smaller technology companies from time to time’ and generally doesn’t discuss its plans.”

Lessin reports, “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 move comes as Apple continues to build its arsenal against Google in mapping… Google already offers indoor mapping in certain locations like airports, shopping centers and sports venues.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

21 Comments

  1. I didn’t watch the entire video, but this doesn’t seem very different than the current wifi location finding that Apple had partnered with Skyhook for back in the day.

  2. Where’d Apple get the money to purchase that small company? They must have looked under the seat cushions of the executives’ lounge couch. Seriously, this is not the type of acquisition that gets investors licking their chops. I wonder how long they had to deliberate before deciding to purchase this company. While spending $20 million I guess they were worried about depleting that $140 billion cash hoard. With acquisitions of that size, I expect Wall Street to let out a big yawn.

      1. Yep, Apple buys innovation when it has to. Samsung steals when it wants to. I had expected more news regarding Apple’s purchases of fresh talent. Apple cannot dominate in the market with stale ideas, it has to stimulate new thinking.

          1. Does it disturb your little world that Apple finds it necessary to infuse new talent and new ideas? Does it make you anxious knowing that other people outside Curpertino may actually have skills and insights that Apple does not? Do you worry that Apple’s competitors may purchase a smaller company and gain a technological or economic advantage? Sucks to be you.

            1. Well, Steve Jobs ain’t working for Apple any more, is he?

              Another thing, doofus, Apple has historically bought fresh talent when it was necessary.

        1. Stale? You kidding me?
          It seems stale to you because you know much about R&D. And when everyone copies your innovation in the pace you invent them, what do you call it? Catching up? Lol

      2. Yes, and to state the obvious (please, by now), Apple doesn’t do things to impress Wall Street. My only concern with Apple, at this time in it’s history, is that it caves to the pressure of WS and know-nothing investors, and starts becoming like everyone else – they’re certainly big enough to do that if they want to. But Apple has a lot of experience dealing with naysayers and they’ve almost always been solid in their game plan against all odds, (some shaky years in the mid 90s with know-nothing CEOs). They didn’t get to where they are today by simply being what everyone else expects them to be.

  3. Obviously Apple, being a large supplier of WiFi could take this a lot further by creating a relationship between iPhones and Airport Stations by embedding trilateration signals. Also, once an area is mapped, it makes sense that the info would be uploaded to be refined and made available to others wanting.
    There is a privacy concern though as some agencies may not want their interiors mapped, much less accessed publicly. Sadly, many people may feel uneasy with the idea someone could map their house just by walking in with a phone.
    It will be interesting to see where this goes, but personally I just don’t understand what’s so wrong with asking someone for directions.

  4. Location based advertising and budy location is huge. When Apple rolls this in to iOS, we will be delighted. I will finally be able to find products and services in malls or stores.

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