After initially starting the race to acquire Israeli based Waze, Google has beaten Facebook to the punch and acquired the mobile app after a deal worth over $1 billion was agreed on in principle over the weekend.
The app, which was founded in 2007, provides turn-by-turn navigation and mapping, but is unique in that it allows its approximately 47 million members to update maps while also providing alternate routes for drivers to avoid traffic jams. Now, Waze is part of a Google team that had previously been its competition in recent years.
Furthermore, that competition is the exact reason why this acquisition may prove to be so important for Google, which has its own GPS mobile app. The deal benefits the search engine giant in two ways: First, it allows Google to purchase an app that has experienced immense growth and popularity (Waze won the Best Overall Mobile App award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress) and has proven itself to be a valuable entity and secondly, it freezes Facebook, which unlike Apple and Google does not have a similar app, out of the navigation game.
Facebook could have made the big move itself, but it appears that after beginning exclusive talks with Waze, the social networking company saw negotiations break down over various disagreements, with Israeli website Haaretz reporting that Facebook wanted to relocate the company to Silicon Valley and re-brand it, while Yahoo! reports that their offer was split between 50 percent in cash and 50 percent in shares.
In contrast, Google is acquiring Waze with an all-cash offering and will allow the mobile app to continue being operated in Israel.
Microsoft, despite being an early investor according to TIME, did not make a bid for the company.
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