Apple Inc. (AAPL) Buys Embark

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We like Wall Street Journal writer Jessica Lessin. When you cover the wide-range of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other tech rumors it can often be quite frustrating as most turn out to be just that, rumor. The Harvard educated, San Francisco, CA based Ms. Lessin, however, has an impressive track record when it comes to finding an exclusive.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Buys Embark

She has written over 1,000 articles for WSJ and recently, she has broken stories on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s development of a smaller iPad, the company’s television strategy and other Silicon Valley deals.

Apple acquires Embark

Today, Lessin is reporting that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has recently acquired a small Silicon Valley start-up that builds apps that help users navigate public transportation systems in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco amongst other larger cities.

While she did not report on the financials, she suggests that Embark’s technology will be directly integrated into Apple Maps.

The latest: Embark Inc., a small Silicon Valley upstart that builds free transit apps to help smartphone users navigate public transportation.

Founded in 2011, Embark produces its apps for both Android and iOS. At the time of her story, the Android apps were no longer available for download, while iOS users may still download Embark’s work at the iTunes Store.

Apple spokeswoman confirms the deal

According to Lessin, An Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) spokeswoman confirmed the deal and said “Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” The company didn’t have any comment on the availability of the Android apps.

Embark’s investors include Silicon Valley seed funds Y Combinator, SV Angel and BMW Group, which has a venture arm that invests in mobile services.

It’s unknown what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) plans to do with Embark, but does mark another shot in the war for mapping dominance. Both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have acquired a number of companies to enhance to each of their mapping applications, though it’s safe to say that following the release of Apple Maps, the company is still playing catch-up compared to the leader in Google.

List of mapping companies

The following is a list compiled by Ms. Lessin of mapping companies that each has acquired according to author. Waze alone cost Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) just shy of a billion dollars to illustrate how important each company views mapping.

Google Inc (GOOG):

3D mapping and data: Keyhole (2004)

Digital mapping: Where 2 Technologies (2004)

European maps: Endoxon (2006)

Aerial photography: ImageAmerica (2007)

Traffic: Waze (2013)

Apple Inc. (AAPL):

Mapping data: Placebase (2009)

3D mapping: Poly9, C3 Technologies  (2010, 2011)

Indoor location: WifiSlam (2013)

Transit data: Locationary, HopStop, Embark (2013)

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