Apple map

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in preliminary talks with New York-based Foursquare Labs Inc. to integrate local data from Foursquare into its mapping app, people with knowledge of the matter told Wall Street Journal. The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker has been talking to a number of firms collecting local data in an attempt to improve its flop mapping product.

According to the reports, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) senior vice president Eddy Cue was involved in the talks. It is the latest sign of the company’s ambitions to tightly integrate local services into its products. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its own mapping software in early September to replace Google Maps that came pre-loaded with Apple devices. But Apple Maps was an embarrassing disaster that drew fierce criticisms from users and critics alike. The company chief executive Tim Cook had to apologize publicly when users started complaining that the app sent them to wrong places. Siri hasn’t gotten rave reviews either.

Foursquare has a popular mobile application in its portfolio that helps people find local places like bars and restaurants, and lets their friends know where they have “checked in.” Foursquare has collected tons of data about popular places, user-generated tips and business listings that could help Apple improve its mapping service.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) views local data services as strategically important, and will help it provide users local information more directly, without help from search services like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). The company has already joined hands with Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) for local listings and reviews.

A deal with Apple could boost prospects for the four-year old Foursquare that has witnessed shrinking growth after Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) launched similar features. Investors are shying away from Foursquare because it’s not growing as fast as they were expecting. Foursquare reportedly has 25 million registered users, but only eight million of them are active.

We have been speculating about a possible deal since last week after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) SVP Eddy Cue posted a check-in at Foursquare on Twitter.