Apple Buys a Mapping Company

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In what an obvious effort to beef up its widely panned iOS mapping capability, Apple Inc. (AAPL) has acquired a small Canadian firm, Locationary, for an undisclosed sum. The company offers a local business listing service that is reportedly far more accurate than the one Apple offered originally. Apple currently uses the service from Yelp Inc. (YELP) to provide iOS users with local business mapping.

Locationary uses crowdsourcing and a data exchange platform called Saturn to collect, winnow and continuously verify a database of information on local businesses all over the world, according to AllThingsD. The service verifies that the business is where the map program says it is, and perhaps more important, that the business still exists.

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When Apple introduced its mapping software in September of last year, the nasty comments about its serviceability got so loud that CEO Tim Cook had to issue a public apology for the foul-up.

Apple has a long history of this sort of stealth acquisition, where it picks up a small company that offers a solution to a distinct problem. It has been a pretty successful strategy so far, yielding both Siri and the fingerprint technology that is expected to be included in iOS 7.

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