May 18, 2015
Apple (AAPL) reportedly has acquired Coherent Navigation, a seven-year old, California-based Global Positioning System (GPS) startup founded by two subject matter experts from Stanford and Cornell.
Neither party disclosed terms of the deal. In the transaction’s wake, Coherent’s website has been taken down but Macrumors, which first reported the deal, said the name servers for its domain had been updated to point to Apple servers. Coherent’s LinkedIn page says the company has “ceased operations at this time,” listing it as employing 1 – 10 people and involved in the defense and space industry.
Apple sort of confirmed the Coherent acquisition by not denying it with the following statement sent to the New York Times: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Prior to Apple’s buyout, Coherent’s area of concentration was high-precision navigation systems, or High Integrity GPS (iGPS). Its technology, as Macrumors detailed, combines signals from traditional orbit GPS satellites with global satellites from communications vendor Iridium. Compared with other GPS technology, the result is a higher level of accuracy, stronger signals and more resistance to interference.
While it’s unclear how Apple intends to use Coherent’s technology, the purchase can be seen as another in a series over the past few years to advance the iPhone maker’s location services–including snapping up Placebase, Locationary, Hopstop, Pin Drop, WifiSLAM, Embark, and Broadmap–and as a means to improve its own in-house mapping technology since its bumpy move away from Google Maps in 2012.
A few of Coherent’s staff already work at Apple, including former chief executive Paul Lego, who started in January, and co-founders William Bencze and Brett Ledvina, both of whom began in February, according to Macrumors. Lego’s LinkedIn profile simultaneously lists him as Coherent boss from April, 2013 to the present and a member of Apple’s Maps unit from January, 2015 to the present, the report said.
ZDNet reported that Bencze and Ledvina are working at Apple on wireless and location technologies.
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