Facebook close to acquiring navigation app Waze so it can sell ads while you drive

Facebook is reportedly very close to buying crowdsourced navigation app Waze for anywhere between $500 million and $1 billion.

The Facebook rumour mill is churning with reports that Zuckerberg and company are inching closer to sealing the deal on a purchase of the popular crowdsourced navigation app, Waze.

Waze has been the subject of a bidding war between both Apple and Facebook over the past year. The Israeli startup reportedly turned down a US$300 million bid from Facebook only six months ago, and a $500 million bid from Apple just this past January.

According to several reports in the Israeli and American press, Facebook is in final negotiations to sealing the deal that may be worth anywhere between$500 million and $1 billion, depending on whose sources you believe.

The Waze MacGuffin

Waze would prove to be a valuable acquisition for both Apple and Facebook. From Cupertino's point of view, the popular app, which currently boasts 47 million active users--double what it had just last year--could help erase the stain of the great Apple Maps fiasco of 2012 and give the company independence from mobile rival Google.

For Facebook's part, Waze would be a way to extend its social network into the automotive space. At the New York International Auto Show in March, Doug Frisbie, Facebook's head of automotive global marketing mentioned Waze by name as a prime example of the merging of the social web and automotive mobile experience. While that all sounds nice and good, FB is a for-profit enterprise and Waze would provide the company a new way to sell ads while you are in transit.

In the mobile maps game, Waze has secured a comfy second place only to Google in markets throughout Europe and North America. However, in developing nations such as Brazil, Uruguay, and Indonesia, the app has surpassed the mighty Google Maps by far. A rising segment of the globe's population has skipped the desktop rungs of the digital ladder and bolted full steam into the mobile age. An app like Waze can be a new bridge for big tech companies looking to court this rising class.

If the Waze acquisition goes through, it will be Facebook's third major Israeli acquisition in as many years. In 2011, FB snapped up social bundling app Snaptu for $70 million, and in 2012 it purchased facial recognition software firm Face.com for $60 million. In both those instances, Facebook relocated these companies and employees to headquarters in San Francisco, New York, and London.

According to reports from Forbes and the Israeli paper Haaretz, one of the last sticking points is overcoming Waze's wish to keep the R&D shop in the middle east.

If all the rumours are to be believed (and they're all still rumours at this point), we should see if the two techy lovebirds can make it official in very the near future.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Blog Posts

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Brand or product placement?

CMOs are looking to ensure investment decisions in marketing initiatives are good value for money. Yet they are frustrated in understanding the value of product placements within this mix for a very simple reason: Product placements are broadly defined and as a result, mean very different things to different people.

Michael Neale and Dr David Corkindale

University of Adelaide Business School and University of South Australia

Sign in