Facebook in Talks to Buy Waze

Reuters:

Facebook Inc is in advanced talks to acquire Israeli mobile satellite navigation start-up Waze for $800 million to $1 billion, business daily Calcalist reported on Thursday. Due diligence is underway after a term sheet was signed, Calcalist said, adding that talks began six months ago.

Waze uses satellite signals from members’ smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, which it then shares with other users, offering real-time traffic info.

Much has been written about Google’s app incursion into iOS, and Facebook is clearly on the same path,1 and for the same reasons. Their business model depends on it.2

Facebook, as an ad-driven business, must maximize user attention. That is why the Facebook website, for example, is a full-blown platform, supporting all kinds of apps that keep you safely on site. Unfortunately for them, they don’t own a mobile platform, and their core competency – social – is increasingly fragmented on mobile.

The fact this deal looks and feels a lot like Instagram is no accident. In lieu of organically gaining mobile eyeballs, Facebook has little choice but to buy them.3

  1. Android is obviously a target as well []
  2. I wonder what Facebook’s business model would be if they had started as a mobile company? []
  3. To be fair, the data collection enabled by an app like Waze is a very tasty bonus []