Report: Apple has acquired mapping company Poly9

French canadian online news site Cyberpresse said Wednesday that Apple had purchased 3D map making company Poly9, possibly indicating the company has plans to enter the competitive online mapping sector with an entry of its own.

The acquisition is the second mapping-related acquisition. A year ago, Apple silently acquired Placebase, a mapping software company. Together, the technology would enable the Cupertino company to produce a product that could be akin to Google Earth.

Apple nor Poly9 have responded to requests to confirm the acquisition, however evidence is mounting that the company is out of business. Its website has been taken offline, and its Twitter account has seen no activity since March.

Cyberpresse also reported that Poly9's offices are dark, and at least two employees have been moved to the Silicon Valley area.

Poly9's signature technology is a web-based 3D globe built on Javascript. One of its advantages is that it is an extremely small download -- about 303kb -- which allows it to load quickly.

One thing Poly9 is missing is mapping technology -- the globe links into the APIs of others to provide that. Thus, one could see why the Placebase and Poly9 acquisitions could add up to an Apple-branded mapping service.

Its clients still appear to be using its technology, suggesting the company is not completely defunct. Apple was a client, as was Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC, and even NORAD -- who used Poly9's globe to do its popular Santa Tracker service.

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