Apple went shopping again this week — we told you its deal streak wasn’t over — acquiring Quebec-based mapping company Poly9. This is the second maps-focused company Apple has purchased.What’s the point?
In the short term, and with Poly9 specifically, Apple is buying “its Google Earth,” analyst Greg Sterling writes today.
But more broadly, Apple is preparing for life after Google.
Apple has relied on Google for a number of iPhone services since the phone launched in 2007, including Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.
But through a series of deals, Apple is now preparing to take control of key services for the iPhone that it may no longer be able to trust Google with, now that Google is quickly becoming Apple’s archenemy.
- Apple’s latest deal (and the one last year) suggests Apple is taking control of mapping.
- Its previous deal to acquire Siri suggests Apple is taking control over some mobile search functions.
- Its recent deal to put Microsoft’s Bing on the iPhone — not as default, yet, but as a user-selected option — doesn’t immediately replace Google, but provides an option for the future.
- Apple’s iAds (via its Quattro Wireless deal) provides Apple’s iOS developers an alternative to Google, especially after Google bought AdMob, the leading iPhone app ad network.
All that’s missing now is Apple’s version YouTube, if Google ever decides to tax Apple for access to YouTube’s APIs, or demands to take over the app. Well, there’s always iTunes.
Make no mistake. Apple may still talk about how only certain teams at Google and Apple hate each other, and that the companies are still partners in many other areas.
But Steve Jobs would be insane not to Google-proof every area of his business.
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