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Apple has tried to keep secret the stealth acquisition of a new online mapping service which could see the company compete head on with Google.

In July, Apple acquired Placebase, a mapping service, however no announcement was made to the market despite Apple being a share listed company. The acquired company is an online mapping service which specialises in offering customisations and features which integrate private and public data sets in many diverse ways.”

The move went unnoticed until someone checked the LinkedIn profile of Placebase CEO Jaron Waldman who now lists his title as “GEO Team At Apple.”

The move is now raising eyebrows, in part claims BusinessWeek, because of the established relationship between Apple and Google on the mapping front.

Google, you’ll recall, was an early partner on the iPhone with an impressive Google Maps application, but was forced to launch its Latitude live location updating application not as a dedicated iPhone application but as a Web-based application reachable on the iPhone only through the Web browser.

It’s not clear as yet what plans Apple has for Placebase.

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