By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 24, 2013 11:12 AM EDT
Apple just closed a deal with indoor GPS company WiFiSLAM, a two-year-old Silicon Valley startup, in a deal reportedly worth $20 million.
The Silicon Valley startup focuses on building technology that allows users to position data while indoors. The technology can pinpoint the location of a device or a person having said device inside a building, where GPS signals are not available. The indoor GPS technology uses Wi-Fi networks to find the location of the device in question.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) confirmed the acquisition with a spokesman for Apple, but the Cupertino giant offered no details on the deal or its plans with WiFiSLAM's indoor GPS technology.
"[Apple] buys smaller technology companies from time to time," the spokesman told the WSJ, declining to offer further comments on the matter. The Wall Street Journal further cites people familiar with the acquisition as saying Apple spent roughly $20 million in the recently closed deal.
S previously mentioned, WiFiSLAM develops indoor positioning technologies, which extend location data to the inside of buildings using Wi-Fi signals. Third-party apps can use this data to accurately deliver positioning data to users even where GPS signals are not available.
In only two years on the market, the indoor positioning company already raised funding from various investors interested in the technology. The exact amount of funds it raised, however, remains unknown.
WiFiSLAM also had some ties with Google, including the startup's co-founder Joseph Huang, who was a software engineering intern at the Internet giant. Current Google employee Dan Dodge is also one of the WiFiSLAM investors.
While Apple did not detail what it plans to do with its newly acquired technology, several options would make sense. The Cupertino giant could, for instance, implement the positioning technology into its much-criticized iOS Maps and compete with Google's Indoor Maps initiative, which relies on crowdsourcing to deliver indoor location information for several sites worldwide.
Apple's mapping service did receive some improvements since its infamous debut back in September 2012, but many users still don't trust the software and prefer to use the Google Maps iOS app. Could this new positioning technology restore consumers' trust in Apple's mapping and navigation capabilities?
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.