• Apple "Maps" Out a New Game Plan

    Image via intomobile

    You never know what Apple is really up to these days. But as our friends at CNET indicated over night, at least we're gaining more insight into why Apple hasn't openly embraced Google Latitude.

    It turns out, Apple is in the map business now too.

    It appears that Apple has purchased PlaceBase, a company that produced a maps API called Pushpin and offered a mapping service much like Google Maps. The evidence, dug up by ComputerWorld's Seth Weintraub, first appeared in the form of a tweet in July by Fred Lalonde, the founder of Openspaces.org, a company that used PlaceBase's software, stating that Apple had purchased PlaceBase.
    The Apple purchase was Tweeted in July and it's only making headlines today? How did this one get past us?

    In and of itself, the purchase by Apple is significant because it obviously expresses the company's desire to continue venturing into new territory. But it's also a dramatic indication that the tensions between Google and Apple will likely not disappear any time soon. After all, long before Apple rejected the Google Voice app, Apple first shot down Google's Latitude app. Remember?

    Apple's rationale apparently was that people would get confused between a Google Maps app and a Google Latitude app. The explanation seemed a bit baffling, since customer confusion didn't seem to be a concern when Apple approved at least 13 To-Do List applications and 30 streaming music apps.
    After all this time, its clear why Apple didn't want the Google app. This developing story (which comes about three months late) signals Apple's intention to distance itself from Google maps in order to rely on its own blossoming service.

    The apparent purchase of PlaceBase seems to explain why Apple would place such restrictions on Google--Apple has a similar feature coming for the iPhone that it doesn't want competition for.
    Rivalries and speculation aside, the move by Apple illustrates that the company is growing ever more aware of the importance of geolocation - an area in which Apple has somewhat dragged its feet, much to the dismay of some Apple customers. PlaceBase will undoubtedly help Apple expend into new territory with some degree of confidence. As a former Google Maps competitor, the folks at PlaceBase definitely know what they're doing.

    Best of all, with increased smartphone competition popping up at every turn, perhaps it really is wise for the company to distance itself from Google, which has its hand in many pots, including that of the Android operating system. In the mobile realm, becoming as self-sustaining as possible probably isn't a bad course for Apple to "map" out for itself.
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