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You never know what Apple is really up to these days. But as our friends at CNET indicated over night, at least we're gaining more insight into why Apple hasn't openly embraced Google Latitude.
It turns out, Apple is in the map business now too.
It appears that Apple has purchased PlaceBase, a company that produced a maps API called Pushpin and offered a mapping service much like Google Maps. The evidence, dug up by ComputerWorld's Seth Weintraub, first appeared in the form of a tweet in July by Fred Lalonde, the founder of Openspaces.org, a company that used PlaceBase's software, stating that Apple had purchased PlaceBase.
In and of itself, the purchase by Apple is significant because it obviously expresses the company's desire to continue venturing into new territory. But it's also a dramatic indication that the tensions between Google and Apple will likely not disappear any time soon. After all, long before Apple rejected the Google Voice app, Apple first shot down Google's Latitude app. Remember?
Apple's rationale apparently was that people would get confused between a Google Maps app and a Google Latitude app. The explanation seemed a bit baffling, since customer confusion didn't seem to be a concern when Apple approved at least 13 To-Do List applications and 30 streaming music apps.
The apparent purchase of PlaceBase seems to explain why Apple would place such restrictions on Google--Apple has a similar feature coming for the iPhone that it doesn't want competition for.
Best of all, with increased smartphone competition popping up at every turn, perhaps it really is wise for the company to distance itself from Google, which has its hand in many pots, including that of the Android operating system. In the mobile realm, becoming as self-sustaining as possible probably isn't a bad course for Apple to "map" out for itself.