Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th May 2012 20:42 UTC
Apple "Between 2009 and 2011, Apple acquired three mapping companies in quick succession: Placebase, in 2009; 3-D mapping outfit Poly9 in 2010; and in 2011, C3 Technologies, a second 3-D mapping company. Three mapping-company acquisitions in as many years. But for good reason: Apple has been hard at work developing its own in-house mapping solution for iOS, and now it's finally ready to debut it." I'm probably crazy, but I've never used the map applications on my mobile phones, so it's difficult for me to get excited about this.
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RE[3]: Just don't care..
by Tony Swash on Sat 12th May 2012 14:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Just don't care.."
Tony Swash
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Funny how at the time, the Android version performed vastly better than the iOS version.

I wonder if this is why Apple bought C3. So that their competitor never gets a version of what they consider strategic software, especially if it's a better version. Kind of like when they bought Emagic just for the sake of killing the Windows version of Logic back in the day...

Do you really think Apple bought Emagic just for the sake of killing the Windows version of Logic? Why? Was Logic a killer product that somehow gave Windows a game changing advantage over MacOSX? Isn't the simpler, saner explanation that Apple wanted some top class music software, bought one of the best companies making such software and then just dropped Windows support because Apple is not in the business of supporting Windows software unless it helps support Apple hardware. Given it's financial resources if Apple wanted to buy companies just to kill Windows software why not buy Adobe plus half a dozen of the largest game companies? Apple could do that with a quarters profits.

Apple's acquisitions strategy is very conservative compared to most of the big players in the tech business, it buys far fewer companies say than Microsoft, or Google, and the companies it buys are always done so with a very deliberate strategic aim, and one that bears visible fruit not long after. In fact watching Apple's acquisitions is a very good way of guessing the sort things they will announcing or be doing not long after.

Apple have bought a number of mapping companies over the last three years or so and are clearly looking to replace their dependency on Google maps, and who is to blame them? Google has already started to use their mapping system to add features to Android in order to compete against Apple's iOS. Building their own mapping system is a sane choice for Apple. Buying C3 was a good strategic move as the company had obviously developed some eye opening mapping software, and will compliment the mapping technology and talent that Apple got when it acquired in 2009 (which gave them an already built mapping team) along with Poly9 in 2010 (which had a leaner version of Google earth already up and running).

What will be interesting will be what sort of vision and ambition Apple have brought to their mapping endeavour. Given their track record it is reasonable to expect and hope that they are hoping for a game changer on maps, after all changing the game is what Apple likes to do. I would expect that Apple maps will be much less if at all browser based or connected and will be much more a closed app style approach. Apple likes to evolve it's products so I expect a limited number of features in version one of their maps app but delivered in a way that is demonstrable better than the other mapping solutions. It may well ship with no third party SDK or support, again typically Apple's way, but once successfully deployed and established third party support will almost certainly come. That was the way with iOS itself and with, for example, iCloud which looks like it may get third party developer tools at WWDC this june.

Personally I am quite excited about what Apple will do in maps, geographic information is of such strategic importance in mobile devices that I expect them to put a lot effort in and I look forward to getting my hands on it.

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