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Will Apple Buy an Israeli Navigation App?

Reports say Apple Inc. is in talks to buy Waze, a popular navigation app developed by Israelis.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/3/2013, 2:14 AM

Waze
Waze
Screenshot

The internet is ablaze with rumors that technology giant Apple is about to purchase an Israeli start-up.

According to reports on Wednesday on technology website TechCrunch and Israeli website NewsGeek, Apple Inc. is in talks to buy the popular navigation app Waze, developed by Israeli start-up Waze Mobile, for $400 million.

Representatives of both sides have declined to comment.

Waze Mobile, founded in 2009, offers an application for smartphones, tablet computers, and in-car systems that provides navigation on roads in Israel and several other countries.

The application also provides information on traffic congestion, police patrols, accidents, stuck vehicles and speed cameras provided by users who belong to this social network.

Globes reported on Wednesday that Waze announced last October that it had raised $30 million from Horizon Ventures, belonging to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund, and iFund. Horizon Ventures was an investor in Facebook.

Altogether, Waze Mobile has raised $67 million. Other investors in the company are Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Vertex Venture Capital. The company has over 20 million subscribers, and is active in 45 countries.

If the report turns out to be correct, this will not be the first acquisition bid for Waze, reported Globes. It was reported in August that Facebook was in talks to buy the Israeli company. Waze already has a form of collaboration with Apple, as together with navigation device and software company TomTom it provides traffic updates, and apparently also maps, for Apple's navigation program.