US: Apple acquired 3D mapping company, C3 Technologies. Experts believe it is a step towards competing against Google Maps. Reportedly, Apple paid USD 240 million for this acquisition. C3’s CEO, CFO and lead product manager are all working within Apple’s iOS division, according to 9to5 Mac.
Apple’s purchase of C3 is not the first digital map builder the company has acquired. The iPhone maker also bought Poly9, a 3D mapping firm, last year. The acquisitions likely mean Apple is planning an in-house map application that may replace Google Maps in its iOS devices.
When Apple unveiled the first iPhone in 2007 and showed off a native Google Maps application, Google and Apple were still on good terms. Since then, Google’s Android platform has emerged as the leader in smartphone market share and Apple’s assertion the OS violates several of its patents has turned the companies into rivals.
Apple is likely no longer comfortable using its rival’s service as the foundation for one of its biggest apps on its devices. The combination of C3 and Poly9’s technologies, however, may give the company what it needs to release its own maps app to take on the competition. Google Maps is one Google’s most popular properties and Apple’s entry into the map game would constitute a direct challenge.
There is no timetable or even a confirmation that Apple is working on its own map application, but history suggests it’s in the works. Apple purchased voice-recognition start-up Siri early last year, and this year rolled it out as one of the biggest updates to the iPhone ever. The company may have the same type of plan lined up now that it has purchased C3.
Apple isn’t expected to announce another iPhone until mid-late next year, but a new application based on C3 and Poly9’s technologies may be the big story when it happens.