Global mobile phone giant Apple has bought an indoor location company called WiFiSLAM in an attempt to improve its maps feature.

The smartphone firm has paid an estimated $20 million (£13.1 million) for the two-year-old company which uses WiFi signals to get a user's location when GPS isn't available.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told the Wall Street Journal that "Apple acquires smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans".

WiFiSLAM, which was founded by Google engineer George Huang, sells its technology to retailers and social networks to guide people to products inside a shop.

The transition allows Apple to challenge Google which has already developed inside maps for certain airports, museums and shopping centres.

Apple's controversial decision to drop Google maps to develop its own application hasn't been received particularly well by some consumers. Its own maps feature was released as "unfinished" and customers reported it as frustrating. Its chief executive Tim Cook made an apology following the negative response saying "we are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better".

Posted by Samantha Green

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Written by Mazuma

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