Apple has bought indoor-mapping specialist Wifislam for an estimated £13 million in a bid to compete with Google for a share of the growing indoor mapping market.
The acquisition will allow the company to offer maps within buildings with an accuracy of 2.5 metres. The move will also help Apple improve its mapping propositions. The manufacturer faced widespread criticism from iPhone users after it dropped Google's mapping service for iPhone and iPad products last September.
The move resulted in chief executive Tim Cook issuing an abject apology and saw the departure of Scott Forstall, who had been in charge of the iPhone software division, and of the head of the mapping team.
In a statement, Apple confirmed the purchase, but declined to reveal the cost of the acquisition. The manufacturer added: 'Apple invests in smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans.’
The indoor mapping company uses the variation of different networks' WiFi signal strengths to triangulate the users loccation. The company co-founders include a former Google staffer, and has backing from Don Dodge, who worked at both Google and Microsoft.
Indoor mapping is a growing market. Nokia already offers Destination Maps, an indoor mapping service whilst two Finnish companies, Walkbase and IndoorAtlas, offer their own propositions.