Digital

Apple Continues Startup Buying Binge and Acquires Embark for Maps

Aug 23, 2013 4:18 am

Skift Take

Apple continues to acquire talent and software to get Maps right after its disastrous debut. If you are a startup with a navigation or transit app, you are in a good location right now.

— Dennis Schaal

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 / Apple

Apple Maps have been subject to a lot of criticism, but the company has been on a buying binge as of late to improve the product. / Apple


Apple Inc. said it bought navigation-software company Embark Inc., part of an effort to improve the performance of its mapping system after a bungled debut last year.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Apple, which dropped Google Inc.’s map service last year in favor of its own, has purchased several navigation software companies. At the time, Apple’s own map software was plagued with errors, for which Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook apologized.

Last month, Apple agreed to buy online transit-navigation service HopStop.com Inc. and Locationary Inc., which is focused on business-location maps. Earlier this year, Apple also purchased WifiSLAM, a maker of location-identifying technology for when a smartphone user is inside a building.

Embark’s software for smartphones provides information about public transportation, something Apple left out of its map service when it debuted last year. Embark was backed by Y Combinator, a startup incubator based in Mountain View, California, among others.

The purchase of Embark was first reported by technology reporter Jessica Lessin.

–Editors: Pui-Wing Tam, Reed Stevenson 

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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