Apple’s new mapping gambit? Indoor mapping company acquired

Alex Walls
March 26, 2013

Apple has bought indoor mapping company Wifislam for a reported $US20 million ( £13.2 million).

Wifislam allowed users’ smartphones to pinpoint their location, and that of friends, in real-time to 2.5 metres accuracy using WiFi signals present in buildings, the company’s profile on AngelList said.

“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.”

A person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal the company sold for about $US20 million, and Apple confirmed the deal to the paper.

Apple told What Mobile it “invests in smaller technology companies from time to time” and generally did not comment on its purpose or plans.


Apple Maps fiasco

The move follows Apple’s launch of its own mapping service as part of the iOS 6 software upgrade last year, which also removed Google Maps as a default app on the OS.  The launch followed Apple’s purchase of mapping company C3 in 2011 to build the software.

The service, alas, was less than perfect, with melting cities, bridges to nowhere and towns in the middle of the ocean just some of the errors reported that spawned their own websites  and saw chief executive Tim Cook apologise for the service, as well as a number of corporate heads roll.

Google released a standalone Maps app for Apple’s mobile OS a month after the Apple Maps debacle in December, CNET reported.

The purchase of Wifislam by Apple is being heralded by some as a possible new mapping war, since Google already provides indoor mapping for select locations, using floor plans of buildings including shopping centres, museums, casinos and more.

Casinos, you say…


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