Waze sold to Google for $1 billion — but its CEO says the company owes more to Apple than anything

  • A passing mention from Apple CEO Tim Cook in a public apology letter sent droves of users to Waze when it was still a fledgling navigation app. 
  • CEO Noam Bardin says the company still celebrates "Tim Cook day"every year — and largely attributes the company's success to that mention.
  • Read Bardin's full interview with Business Insider here. 

In 2012, one day after the launch of Apple Maps, CEO Tim Cook posted an open letter on the company's website.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused," Cook said of Apple's botched cartography app.

But farther down in the letter was something that would change the fate of a small Israeli startup known as Waze forever: suggestions for better map apps.

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"While we’re improving Maps," said Cook, "you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze."

That day is now celebrated every year at Waze, CEO Noam Bardin said in a recent interview with Business Insider.

"That was our coming out moment," Bardin said. "From there, things started to pick up pace, eventually ending in the acquisition in 2013." That acquisition, of course, is referring to Google's purchase of Waze for a reported price tag of $1 billion, a huge amount of money, especially at that time.

"It's a day that's still celebrated today at the company every year," Bardin said. "It's called Tim Cook day."

Read Waze CEO Noam Bardin's full interview with Business Insider here.

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