Google Inc (GOOG) to Buy Navigation App for $1.3 Billion

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) looks set to acquire the Israeli navigation app Waze after several months of speculation that also involved Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Big-Ticket Item

The transaction is rumored to cost around $1.3 billion and will allow Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to provide improved navigation, as well as traffic reports. Recently, Waze was believed to be in sales talks with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), according to The Jerusalem Post. Facebook officials even landed in Israel to discuss a takeover bid, but a deal wasn’t reached due to the amount Facebook was offering. The same report stated that Waze was in talks with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in January over a takeover bid, and Forbes confirmed the report.

Google on a Buying Frenzy

The app already has 50 million users that could boost Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s bottom line, and further diversify the company, which seems to be falling into more niches every month. In fact, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has made two acquisitions in Israel alone. The company purchased Labpixies, which is a personalized website gadget developer — that deal was for $25 million in 2010. In the same year, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) purchased Quiksee for $10 million.

The Battle for Tech Supremacy

Purchasing Waze for $1.3 billion shows Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is serious about being the tech leader, and is set to compete with Apple. In fact, as stated in The Jerusalem Post, Google has essentially swiped Waze right from under the nose of Apple. That could be why the company offered so much cash. And with Apple stating its map app needs work, the company likely needed this purchase to make a major step forward. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook said about the company’s map app in May during an interview with “AllThingsD” that “We screwed up. It’s greatly improved, but not there yet. We have more to do.”

Google’s acquisition of one of the top navigation apps on the market could set the company — which was once just an Internet search engine — apart from others in the tech field. The company obviously has the money to spend, and potentially outbidding Apple and Facebook shows that Google is serious about growth. Having the cash to do so is important in an industry where money talks. And this latest acquisition could really increase the number of Google users. The app provides information about police presence, traffic congestion, road accidents, road hazards and speed cameras. This seems like an app that no driver would want to be without. So with Apple lagging behind in a major acquisition, it looks like there could be room to take market share away from one of Google’s biggest competitors.

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