Apple Buys Data Management Startup To Give Maps App A Boost


Apple has acquired Locationary, a Toronto-based start-up that specializes in location-based data related to local business.

The deal, which was confirmed by an Apple spokesperson to AllThingsD on Friday, appears to be the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer giant's latest attempt to bolster the new mapping service it launched last year. Meant to be an alternative to Google's popular mapping service, Apple's Maps app, rolled out with iOS 6, was largely considered a flop, with users complaining of mislabeled locations, faulty directions and other glitches.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the time publicly apologized for the "frustration" the Maps app caused customers and vowed Apple would improve the service moving forward. "Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world," Cook wrote in an open letter on Apple's website last September. "We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard."

[Related: 5 Things We Know About Apple's 'Budget iPhone']

Enter Locationary, which, ironically wrote an article for TechCrunch on the heels of Apple's Maps debacle, outlining ways the service could be improved.

Locationary specializes in improving the quality of data related to local business, ensuring, for instance, that a business's address, hours and other information is accurate and up-to-date for mobile and Web content, search engines, and navigation apps. Locationary's flagship data platform is Saturn, which, according to its website, enterprises also leverage to merge external and internal data sources, as well as streamline other data integration processes.

Locationary has been backed by investors including Extreme Venture Partners and Plazacorp Ventures.
Apple did not immediately respond to CRN's request for comment. The spokesperson who confirmed the acquisition to AllThingsD said, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, AllThingsD said.

PUBLISHED JULY 19, 2013