Apple Buys a Maps Company, Intends to Use It

Posted by Arron Hirst on October 1st, 2009

Let's face it. We all love Google Maps on our iPhone's. The convenience of swiping here, and flicking there to get directions to where we want to go is all too .. convenient. But, it's been like that for some time now, and it may just be about to change.

Remember when Apple and Google used to be such real good pals? Well, I'm afraid to say that sadly those days seem to be over. After the recent Google Voice saga earlier last month, which managed to generate huge media attention and even managed to get the FCC involved, Google and Apple seem to have been slowly drifting apart from each other.

Today, Gizmodo reports that another recent rumored purchase of Apple's may confirm that this is the case. Uncovered via a tweet posted back in July from the founder of Placebase - Fred Lalonde, it's now rumored Apple have bought Placebase, outright. The acquisition of the company took place in July of this year, but is only coming to light now, due to recent events involving both Google and Apple.

So, what exactly separates Placebase from Google Maps? Well, from this post published on Gigaom in early 2008, we can see Placebase has a few things Google Maps doesn't. For a start, the service allows users to overlay layers upon layers of data on top of each other, to provide an overall richer, fuller experience. On top of this, it's said that Placebase's API is smarter and easier than Google's claiming easier integration into third party products.

But, if Apple now has a maps company which is deemed superior to Google Maps, Why do they need Google? Now, that said I can't see them just dropping Google and the arrangement they currently have for 'native' iPhone maps functionality, after all - it's now one of the iPhone's most prominent features. But you have to wonder. With a maps company under it's belt, Apple could be gearing to compete with Google in this area, in a very big way.