TruePosition Inc., a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, has acquired Skyhook Wireless, the Boston-based provider of wireless positioning technology and location intelligence.
Skyhook Wireless has played a major role in developing beacon-based, Wi-Fi location positioning, known as hybrid positioning. The technology often works in conjunction with traditional GPS to make it faster and more precise.
The company was initially used, and name-dropped, by Apple during the early days of the iPhone.
The famously picky Steve Jobs even referred to Skyhook’s technology as being “really cool.” But later, once Apple and Google developed their own location-based beacon systems, Skyhook was dropped by major mobile phone developers.
Since 2010, Skyhook has been involved in two patent lawsuits with Google. The most recent complaint between the two companies is supposed to go to court this year. (A source from Skyhook said that the acquisition has no effect on the Google litigation.)
The company was founded in 2003 by Ted Morgan and Mike Shean who literally drove around most of North America, and later Europe, to map Wi-Fi hotspots. Most recently, Jeff Glass was brought in to be the company’s chief executive. Previously, Glass had been with mQube and Bain Capital Ventures.
Currently, Skyhook is a global Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS location software provider that handles “billions of transactions per month,” the press release for the deal stated. Skyhook is best known for its “Precision Location” and “Context Accelerator” software development kits (SDK’s), which “leverage the network to enable businesses to gain unprecedented levels of geospatial insight, optimize mobile and device experiences, provide the right content when it’s needed, and certify that location is precise and reliable.”
Mike Schneider, Skyhook’s vice president of marketing, said this morning that the acquisition offers an opportunity for the company to accelerate many of the innovative products it is developing. He added that “it will be business as usual” for Skyhook.
On what impact working with TruePosition could have on Skyhook, Schneider said that the two companies have different wireless location services, and that they will “leverage the overlap” which creates an opportunity to accelerate Skyhook’s innovation.
Additionally, Schneider said that the acquisition has no effect on Skyhook’s current leadership or employees.
Pennsylvania-based TruePosition has it own geo-location solutions that leverage a variety of cellular location techniques, primarily for public safety and security purposes.
In the press release for the announcement, said, “TruePosition has long been recognized as the industry leader in safety and security related mobile phone geo-location due to its success in the E9–1–1 space.”
“We are joining forces with the global location leader and are excited to leverage our combined technologies and Liberty Media’s support,” said Skyhook’s chief executive Jeff Glass in a statement.
TruePosition’s chief executive Steve Stuut said, “Skyhook’s technology provides TruePosition with another important tool in our technology and patent portfolio that perfectly complements our existing offerings.”