Seth Weintraub, of Computerworld, reports that Apple has purchased PlaceBase. PlaceBase is a company that made a product called Pushpin, which was a mapping API. It is possible that Apple could use PlaceBase as a replacement for Google Maps on the iPhone and iPod touch.
PlaceBase’s CEO, Jaron Waldman, is now listed as part of the “Geo Team at Apple” on LinkedIn. A team that may not have existed until the acquisition.
Apple’s relationship with Google has been souring for a while now. With Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS, Google has been releasing (or announcing) products that compete directly with Apple. This clearly can’t make Apple very happy, especially since Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, was on Apple’s board during those announcements. Most recently Google and Apple have been in a bit of a spat with the FCC regarding Google Voice’s “rejection” from the App Store.
Oddly enough, Google has started including sponsored results in searches done with the iPhone’s Google Maps application. The sponsored results are shaded yellow (as they are in Google search results) and appear at the bottom or top of results pages.
Google and Apple are both incredibly innovative companies and I hope that this breakup isn’t detrimental to Apple and Google’s products.
Update 10/14/09: Google has announced that Art Levinson has left Google’s board. Levinson will remain a member of Apple’s board. There is obviously tension between Google and Apple, this is one of the last ties the two companies had to one another (aside from the obvious bits of technology used in Apple’s products).
Update 11/30/09: Apple Taking Maps to the Next Level