How Apple Could Tell Google Maps to Get Lost

Sneaky purchase of small online mapping company signals intent to de-Google-ize the iPhone experience

Earlier this summer, Apple purchased Placebase, a company that develops software to enable companies to build interactive maps for Web sites and other applications.

However, the deal was small enough to stay out of SEC filing requirements for the publicly traded company.

So it wasn't until a Computerworld reporter noted that former CEO of Placebase now works at Apple on geographic projects that the deal was uncovered.

The default mapping application installed on iPhones uses Google Maps.

Apple recently came under fire for blocking Google's Voice application from the iPhone, citing features already present on the popular mobile device that conflicted.

Google is also competing with Apple by providing handset manufacturers with free software called Android that makes the devices as powerful and easy to use as an iPhone.

And Apple is pushing into online applications like email and storage, areas where it would compete head-on with Google.

The companies are also under investigation from antitrust regulators for the cozy relationships between the companies executives and directors -- even though Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from the Apple board.

So replacing Google Maps with Placebase seems to be another sign that the two friends are now, officially, bitter rivals.

Photo by Flickr user ping ping.

Jackson West still doesn't have an iPhone, and certainly doesn't want one trapped in Apple's cloud.

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