updated 02:35 pm EST, Mon December 23, 2013
Apple acquisitions reportedly continue
Apple may have stealthily acquired two more companies in a continuing effort to improve the functionality of iOS. 9to5Mac reported on Monday that Apple has snatched up both BroadMap - a mapping firm - and Catch - an Evernote competitor - in the last several months. Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that Apple has acquired 15 firms this year, but not all of those have been revealed to date, and these latest two firms appear to be the sort that Apple would pick up.
Grabbing BroadMap would help bolster Apple's mapping efforts, which took a hit when the company dropped Google Maps as the iOS standard with iOS 6. BroadMap specializes in sorting, managing, and analyzing mapping data. The company does not offer any "killer app" that could be integrated into Apple's offerings, but 9to5 posits that its expertise in sorting data, cartography, enterprise integration, geocoding, and more areas could very well help improve Apple's products in the long run.
Adding to the supposition over BroadMap is the fact that BroadMaps CEO's LinkedIn page says that the firm was acquired recently by a Fortune 5 company. A look at the top five Fortune companies shows that a mapping program would likely be an odd fit for most of them, but perfect for Apple. Finally, all nearly all of BroadMap's former executive team are now listed as members of Apple's mapping team.
The other possible acquisition was Catch, said to be a popular cross-platform note-taking application in competition with Evernote. Catch shut down earlier this year, with its team citing a "difficult decision to take the company in a different direction."
The company's Vice President of Business Development posted that he was with the company up until July 2013, when he says that it was "acquired." Sources tell 9to5, though, that a majority of Catch employees are now working for Apple. Those employees reportedly include Catch co-founder Andreas Schobel,
As Apple's products have grown increasingly popular, the company has not been shy in snatching up smaller firms to bolster its offerings. In 2012, Apple bought Authentec, a biometric security company whose work eventually made its way into the Touch ID sensor built into the iPhone 5s. More recently, Apple bought PrimeSense, the maker of the technology behind the original Kinect sensor in Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has never been too forthcoming on what the company will do with the firms it buys, but he has said that Apple was on pace this year to beat its 2012 acquisition rate, which saw the company picking up another firm once every 70 days. Cook says that Apple is meticulous in its acquisitions and does not just go out looking to make big purchases with its considerable cash reserves.
"The kind of companies that we've purchased have been companies that either have really smart people and or IP," Cook said earlier this year. "Generally speaking, in many cases, we've taken something that their working on and moved the skills to work on something else... In terms of large acquisitions... we have looked at large companies. In each case, it didn't pass our test for various reasons."