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Apple confirmed as buyer of 3D mapping firm

Plotting split from Google Mapping services?

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Apple has been confirmed as the the buyer of 3D maps company C3 technologies, which was sold over the summer to a undeclared company.

The C3 mapping team have remained in their Swedish offices according to 9to5Mac whose unamed sources tipped it to the involvement of Apple, but the C3 team are all working now on a product for iOS under the new development name Sputnik.

Using technology plucked from the military and aerospace sector, C3 produces photo-realistic images of the earth rendered in three dimensions and Apple's buyout is another strong sign that Cupertino are keen to push into the maps space.

Apple has been tinkering around with maps since buying its first mapping company Placebase in 2008. C3 is the second 3D mapping company that Apple has invested in – scooping up Poly9 in summer 2010.

Proprietary Apple maps could edge another Google function off the Jesus mobe. Google started to charge for access to the Maps API – something that will affect apps developers on the iTunes store.

After the success of Siri, it is a strong sign that the iPhone makers are seeking to create another software hit.

The C3 website appears to have been taken down, but its LinkedIn page is still viewable. ®

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