Apple has quietly gone ahead and brought itself a mapping company called Placebase in July this year, a move, which some analysts say, gives a hint at Apple’s strategy to look beyond Google Maps.
Details of the deal between Apple and Placebase are difficult to come by as there has been no official press release from Apple on this subject.
It is interesting to note that Placebase offers the ability to layer third party data sets by utilising the company's proprietary API called PushPin, a feature which is already available on Google Maps.
Though many analysts believe that it is too premature to look at Apple’s acquisition of Placebase as a sign of it breaking off from Google Maps, others explicitly point out that Apple may be looking for a backup plan for future.
Google Chrome operating system could well appear on the market by 2010 and with Android already in the market, Apple may start to feel that Google is coming too close to its core businesses.
Google and Apple share a long standing partnership and Google CEO Eric Schmidt was even on Apple’s board of directors till August this year when he quit because of "potential conflicts of interest" between the two companies.
Google and Apple are on a collision course and we did mull the possibility in November last year that Apple could buy search giant Yahoo. Apple will certainly be looking to distance itself from Google as the latter becomes too invasive. This means swapping all the services that Google current offers for Apple-based ones. If only they had bought Yahoo...