By Gilbert Falso :: 10:34 PM
Apple today confirmed that it has spent $20 million to acquire WifiSLAM, a Silicon Valley company that builds technology that enables GPS-like positioning features indoors.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the purchase with the Wall Street Journal, but did not go into great detail about why Apple sought to purchase the company, or what it intends to do with the technology.
WifiSLAM’s indoor positioning technology extends location data availability to the inside of buildings and other structures where satellite-based positioning systems, like standard GPS, do not work. WifiSLAM makes use of Wi-Fi signals to generate location information.
The indoor positioning company is a startup – just two years old – and had raised funding from various investors. It was founded in 2010 by a former Google engineering intern, and graduated out of Stanford University’s tech accelerator StartX. According to a Venture Beat report from August, the company had raised a million dollars from a variety of venture capital firms and angel investors.
As for what Apple would do with the company – right now it is anyone’s guess. With the lackluster performance of Apple’s Maps product when it launched with iOS 6, it is possible that the company is looking to make the next version go above and beyond the current popular Google Maps offering. And, as usual with these types of deals, Apple is keeping its collective mouth shut.