Apple Inc agreed to buy online transit-navigation service HopStop.com Inc, people with knowledge of the deal said, seeking to improve mapping tools after a rocky debut for its directions software last year.
The people asked not to be identified because the deal is not public. AllThingsD reported on Friday that Cupertino, California-based Apple is purchasing Locationary Inc, a Toronto-based company focused on business-location maps.
New mapping software Apple debuted in September with the iPhone 5 has been faulted for getting users lost and for its lack of public transportation directions. HopStop shows users in more than 500 cities the fastest way to travel by foot, bike, subway and car; Locationary deploys real-time data from a variety of sources to help users find featured businesses.
Apple, which touted the map features as a key software change in the iPhone 5, built its navigation application amid a growing battle with Google Inc, which had provided its Google Maps program since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. Apple built the replacement app in part because it wanted to scale back its relationship with Google, not because of any product flaws, two people familiar with Apple’s mapping product said last year.
Google unveiled its mapping application for the iPhone and iPad in December. Google Maps is the most popular free program in Apple’s App Store. HopStop ranks No. 7 among free navigation tools.
HopStop, based in New York, provides directions for more than 140 major metropolitan areas in the US and six other countries, according to its Web site.