Apple buys indoor location startup WifiSLAM for $20 million

$20 million has bought Apple WifiSLAM, a startup specializing in indoor location mapping. Apple confirmed the sale, but wouldn't discuss specifics or future plans. Jessica E. Lessin of the Wall Street Journal reports:

The two-year-old startup has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals. It has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps. The company has a handful of employees, and its co-founders include former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang.

Their website, wifislam.com, is already down. Their YouTube account, which contains several demo videos, remains up, as does their Twitter account, though neither has been updated recently.

Apple has acquired numerous mapping-related companies over the years, including Placebase, Poly9, and C3 technologies, and used them to create features like Flyover in iOS 6 Maps. Presumably Apple will keep updating their new Maps app, both as part of iOS 7 and iOS 8, and hopefully one day de-coupled from the main firmware distribution as well. What, if any, role WifiSLAM technology will play in that future remains unknown.

I'd settle for it being able to help me get out of CES alive. You?

Source: Wall Street Journal