Seith Weintraub did a little bit of detective work and recently discovered that back in July, Apple purchased the mapping company “PlaceBase” for an undisclosed sum. PlaceBase is a mapping program that actually preceded Google Maps, but once Google’s free offering came about, PlaceBase decided to switch things up a bit, change their business model, and offer customers map customizations and intriguing aggregation options. For example, PlaceBase users could aggregate data related to crime and traffic and see it overlayed on corresponding locations on a map.
Now, it turns out that former PlaceBase CEO and founder Jaron Waldman is now part of the “Geo Team” at Apple.
Who knew that Apple even had a Geo Team, and even more mysterious is what sort of projects it might be working on. One possibility is that Apple is looking to become less reliant on Google Maps, especially in light of their recent dispute regarding the rejection, or pending approval, of Google Voice. Apple, by nature, doesn’t like depending on third party software when it can be avoided, and this may be the beginning of Apple slowly starting to wean itself off of all things Google. Right now, Google apps occupy 2 spots of prime real estate on the iPhone home screen, and while the YouTube and Maps apps are great, Apple may fear that Google might someday try and leverage the reliance on those apps in their favor.