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Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Facebook was in talks to buy travel app Waze. Now, anonymous sources are saying that Google has offered a competing bid.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Douglas MacMillan, Brian Womack and Ari Levy reported, "Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said. Waze is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties and is seeking more than $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private."
Salvador Rodriguez with the Los Angeles Times explained, "Users on Waze can help each other find the best routes to their destinations by warning one another of any obstacles that may impede their way, such as traffic, accidents, construction and so on. The company makes money with location-based advertisements."
The Guardian's Charles Arthur observed, "Any buyout by Google or Facebook could also have implications for Apple, which buys data from Waze for its much-criticised Maps application on the iPhone and iPad. In January, Waze was said to have been in takeover talks with Apple, for which it is a supplier of some map data. Apple was reported to have been offering about $500m for the company – an amount that was apparently rejected by Waze chief executive Noam Bardin, who was holding out for substantially more."
NetworkWorld quoted Marcus Thielking, co-founder of mapping and location service provider Skobbler, who said, "Such a purchase would enable Facebook to jump-start its own mapping ambitions and potentially compete with Google and Apple down the road. Also, buying Waze, like Instagram, would allow Facebook to build out their market share on mobile, which is a core focus for them currently."