updated 11:00 am EDT, Wed July 14, 2010
Acquisition may hint at future mapping plans
Apple has reportedly bought Poly9, a company from the mostly French-speaking Canadian province of Québec. According to Le Soleil, the majority of Poly9's workers have already been moved out to California, and its offices have been closed for several weeks. Apple has also allegedly asked the Poly9 staff not to discuss the buyout publicly.
As is usual with Apple's smaller acquisitions, there is no official word on why Poly9 was bought. The latter's clients have included the likes of Microsoft, NORAD, Yahoo and Apple itself however, and a signature product is Poly9 Globe, a web app close in concept to Google Earth, but more lightweight and embeddable into third-party websites. Apple may be interested in furthering its own mapping interests apart from Google. Last year it bought Placebase, a company working on technology similar to Google Maps.
In November, Apple posted a job listing asking for someone to help raise the iPhone Maps app "to the next level." The basic idea was to "rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things," although it was not much more specific than that. The company might only have been looking for help with the iPad version of Maps, which was still under construction at the time.