Google buys traffic maps app Waze for $1.1 billion, to keep it separate
In this new world, multi-brand strategy is clearly how big Internet companies want to operate, partly to not mess with the DNA of the startups they’re buying.
The much leaked talks about Google finally swooping in and buying Waze have come true, and it has been announced: the search giant is buying the Israeli mapping and traffic app and service, according to an official blog post. Updated: The price is $1 billion in cash, plus $100 million in performance payouts in cash and possibly stock to the Waze staff, AllThingsD reports.
To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.
The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.
Which decoded means couple of things: one, Google didn’t want it to end in Facebook’s hands, as has been reported before. Second, for its own purposes, it wants the already excellent free navigation capabilities of Google Maps app to become a lot better, in a lot more cost effective, user-sourced way.
No price was disclosed, but as earlier reports said, it is in the $1.3 billion range, above the $1 billion Facebook was willing to offer.
As for why did Waze sell, from its own blog post about the sale:
Why not stay completely independent? We asked ourselves: “Will Waze still be a fun project to participate in, and a fun place to work, as a stand-alone public company?” Choosing the path of an IPO often shifts attention to bankers, lawyers and the happiness of Wall Street, and we decided we’d rather spend our time with you, the Waze community.
In case you don’t know what Waze is and how it collects traffic info, here’s a short video that explains it: