One of the more interesting tech rumors of the new year involves Waze, the heavily-funded Silicon Valley startup that specializes in mobile traffic data and easy-to-use navigation apps.

Citing unnamed sources, TechCrunch is reporting that Apple, which experienced its share of mobile mapping missteps last year, is in the market to gobble up Waze (perhaps for as much as $500 million or more). Neither Apple or Waze are commenting, and TechCrunch’s report seems a bit short on sourcing.

But a deal could make some sense, and it would certainly be closely watched in the Seattle area where Kirkland-based traffic analytics company INRIX is believed to be getting ready for an initial public offering of its own.

Apple’s launch of its mobile maps offering for iOS last year didn’t turn out so well, with a full slate of glitches and misguided directions.

With Waze, which relies on community members to report traffic bottlenecks and make commutes less painful, could Apple look to make a comeback in maps?

Waze raised $30 million in funding in October 2011, and according to TechCrunch had less than $1 million in revenue last year. Total VC funding stands at about $67 million.

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  • booziboy

    really with $1 million revenue and they are asking for $750 million. at this rate inrix should be valued at $2 billion +

    • Jignesh Padhiyar

      Asking price doesn’t depend on how much they earn. It depends on a variety of things. Apple’s really been battered right now and Waze has got data that’s really valuable. Not only that, but Waze has struck a mini gold-mine with its monetization model although from my perspective, it isn’t all the way ethical. So the folks factor all those things into the price, not just the revenue they generated in the past.

    • Slaggggg

      Another problem is that Inrix’s traffic apps suck big time. Have you tried to use them? Half the time you get a server failed message and can’t even navigate at all. When they do work, they are beyond clunky.

      Waze is so far ahread of Inrix in the mobile traffic app space … not even a contest.

      • Inrix user

        I started using it last month and it works well. Hasn’t failed once!

  • joshua logan

    Many giants are after this one. Waze. Lets see in who’s lap it lands. And what they do with it

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