There are “rumours flying around” that Apple is “sniffing around” upstart mapping company, Waze, says Mike Butcher at TechCrunch.Waze does user-generated mapping data. People who use Waze are contributing the data to its database. It encourages people to contribute through gaming-mechanisms. So, if you drive a certain distance, you get points. And, the more people who use Waze, the better Waze is.
Prior to Apple and Google making turn-by-turn directions available for free on the iPhone, Waze was the best option for free driving directions on the iPhone.
Butcher’s report on Apple’s interest seems very thin right now. If anything is happening between the two companies it’s likely in very early stages.
However, it makes a lot of sense for the two to link up.
Before Apple’s maps were officially released, Waze’s CEO Noam Bardin warned us that it was going to be a mess. “Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player,” Bardin said. “They’re now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they’re competing against Google, which has the highest data set.”
He added, “What’s going to happen with the Apple maps, is that you’re literally not going to find things … When you do find them, they might be in the wrong place or position geographically. And if you do have it, the route to it may not be the optimal route.”
He was right! Perhaps with Bardin at Apple, he could help orchestrate a big turnaround for Apple Maps.
And why would he want to sell? You know, aside from the big check he’d get from Apple?
From his perspective, Waze faces intense competition from Google and Apple. It’s unclear how tiny Waze can compete against those two companies. It’s also unclear how Waze monetizes its data. Taking an exit with Apple, and getting a lot of money to work on one of Apple’s biggest flaws would be a big promotion for Bardin and his team.
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