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Google To Buy Waze For $1.3 Billion

The acquisition will be the largest buyout yet for an Israeli consumer firm

By: Daniel Koren
Published: June 10th, 2013 in News » World

For the past few months, rumours surrounding an acquisition of Israeli tech giant Waze have been in heavy circulation, as the offers seemed to pour in from Facebook, Apple and Google.

Now, Israeli newspaper Globes has reported that Google is set to buy the Ra’anana-based crowdsourced driving and navigation app – currently with 50 million users around the world – for $1.3 billion.

Waze CEO Uri Levine, and other members of the tech company, have yet to comment.

An apt navigation tool with a strong social presence, Waze’s service relies heavily on information from its users to populate its maps. Users on their smartphones can view both traffic traffic reports for live, local and up-to-date information regarding driving conditions.

Today, a good mapping service is mandatory for the majority of smartphone users, currently among the top five used applications on smartphones.

Google’s offer is apparently $300 million more than what Facebook had offered Waze earlier this year. Those negotiations were apparently put on hold when Facebook insisted that the company moved its headquarters from Israel to a Facebook-operated facility in the United States or United Kingdom.

Apple reportedly tried to purchase Waze months ago with an offer of $400 million, but never submitted an official offer. As they continue to distance themselves from Google and its mapping app, they would stand to gain the most from Waze’s swarm of loyal followers.

As Google has several research and development facilities already in Israel, and currently employees hundreds of engineers across the country, location was not an issue for their deal to acquire the Israeli-owned navigations app.

Google had purchased two Israeli companies back in 2010, which have both retained residency in Israel, including Labpixies for $25 million, and Quix for approximately $8-10 million.

Their acquisition of Waze would be the largest buyout yet for an Israeli consumer firm, following Face.com’s $60 million sale to Facebook last year.

Google’s own mapping and driving app has been at a fierce competition with Waze, and despite Google’s dominance of everything high-tech, Waze could have essentially claimed victory at this point, with most users in agreement that the Israeli-based app is cleaner, sharper, and easier to use than Google’s. To seal the deal, Waze also has an active, and growing social network, which is built-in to the platform.

As talks of an official Windows phone continue to circulate, it seems likely that Google will use Waze as their new official mapping service.


Related articles: Google, Waze, Facebook, High-tech
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