“We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS,” wrote Tim Cook in September of 2012 “As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.”
This, however, was the only positive statement in his humiliating apology for Apple Maps when the company released the product last year to an immediate groundswell or criticism. This statement was immediately followed by a list of competitors’ maps that could be downloaded from the App Store including Bing, MapQuest, Waze and the websites of both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V). Ouch.
Since then, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has indeed worked towards bettering Maps and has done a reasonable job of it. Another step in this direction was taken this week. Today, AppleInsider reported that the deal was confirmed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s spokesman Steve Dowling to John Paczkowski of AllThingsD. The Toronto-based Locationary is said to include the company’s technology and personnel, the price of the acquisition was not, however, made public in this interview.
“Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” spokesperson Steve Dowling told ATD. But if you look at what Locationary does it certainly offers hints about what Apple will do, and that is of course improving Maps presumably for both iOS and the native program that will be bundled in OSX Mavericks when it is released.
Locationary is a big data startup that created a platform, called “Saturn” to merge and clean up disparate information about companies’ business profiles so that data can be consistent and accurate wherever that profile gets used.
The company says that it’s plowed through 5.61 billion data fields, managing 175 million profiles across 253 feeds and repositories. Given that Locationary has only raised $2.5 million dollars since 2009, given Apple’s might one would expect that these numbers will grow exponentially and quickly as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) looks to but additional balm on the wound created by its first foray into mapping technology. A foray that brought some of the worse press Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as seen since the release of the first iPod.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) currently partners with Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) for business information and this morning’s announcement is sure to have Yelp feeling a little ill at ease going into the weekend.