Apple, Waze, and the expectation of rumors
There are some rumors going around that Apple is considering the purchase of crowd-sourced mapping app Waze. Apple has a ton of cash, and can certainly buy Waze if that's what both parties want, the way Apple bought Chomp, Color, Polar Rose, Siri, and other companies over the years. Mike Butcher of TechCrunch writes:
So it comes as almost no surprise to us that there are rumours flying around that Apple is sniffing around Waze with a view to a possible acquisition. After all, Waze is already a data partner for Apple’s Maps app and was the only app to gain meaningful marketshare after the Apple Maps fail. We have reached out to both. An apple spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.” We got a “we never comment on rumors” from Waze.
Location is incredibly important. If Apple feels there's talent and/or technology at Waze that can help them with maps, then it makes sense they'd be exploring the possibility.
That's part of what makes this such a compelling rumor. Apple Maps have suffered in the media and in public perception since launch, and this taps into the general desire for a "quick fix" to the problem. However. Apple replacing iOS 6 Maps with a rebranded Waze app, is a non-starter. Even integrating specific features people like about Waze, such as super-fast crowd-sourced updates, would be non-trivial. Likewise, pumping raw Waze data into Apple's backend location services. Apple already has TomTom and Waze, and other data sources there. Turning all that data into a clean, verified, using facing maps product has been a problem. Would more data help or only exacerbate it?
After Apple bought Chomp, there were huge expectations that search and discovery in the iOS App Store would be instantly, magically improved. Instead, we've had slow, iterative, often painful changes that are still in progress. Waze likely wouldn't fix Maps any quicker or more easily than Chomp fixed the App Store.