Microsoft makes secret investment in social navigation company Waze

Microsoft secretly participated in a recent $25 million funding round for Israel-based navigation solutions provider Waze, Israeli tech site TheMarker reported last week. Microsoft makes very few investments each year according to TheMarker’s source, but the tech giant apparently took quite an interest in Waze’s unique brand of navigation apps. “Waze is a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road. 100% powered by users, the more you drive, the better it gets,” the company’s website states. The company’s apps provide free voice-guided navigation to users, and also provide real-time data such as traffic conditions and speed trap alerts based on both automatic and manual feedback from each of Waze’s 4.5 million users around the world. While the terms of Microsoft’s investment were not revealed, the move is an interesting one — Microsoft is now in bed with Nokia, owner of navigation giant Navteq, and it will supply the OS for Nokia’s smartphones moving forward. Microsoft has already announced that it will use Navteq to power future navigation solutions in its Windows Phone OS, but it looks like a unique version of Waze for Windows Phone is in the works as well.

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