Apple Acquired Placebase, A Google Maps Substitute Back in July

Apple acquires Placebase to replace Google Maps

With Google and Apple now starting to compete over multiple products with the advent of Android, Chrome OS, and with recent issues over the objection of Google Voice and Google Latitude iPhone apps

Apple probably thinks it best to move away from its dependency on Google as much as possible. Today, we are hearing about an Apple acquisition that possibly happened in July of this year – of the company Placebase that provides a service called PushPin which is pretty similar to Google Maps.

The acquisition happened over the first week of July. Jaron Waldman, the founder and CEO of Placebase created the product to directly compete with Google Maps but with extra layers of customization and also released an API for commercial use. He was thus able to create his product PushPin, which helped to serve more complex solutions than Google Maps. 

So why is the acquisition actually happening? Seth Weintraub from ComputerWorld, who revealed the acquisition in his article today, sees this as a step primarily towards Apple freeing itself from the clutches of Google. Apple's native Maps iPhone application is built with Google Maps. Also, with the clamor over rejection of Google built apps for iPhone, there has been a lot of bad blood of late and it would not make strategic sense for Apple to continue to depend on Google for one of its core applications. Seth also sees this acquisition as a way to get the smart brains behind Placebase for their tablet, though that is entirely speculative. 

While this is indeed a smart move from Apple, it is to be seen if Apple has other other things in mind as well. A product to merely replace Google Maps would not have had to be hushed up as it has been, in this case. Seth reports that Waldman is now part of the Geo Team at Apple and it would be interesting to know what this team is actually working on. 

What do you think?

[via ComputerWorld]

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