Apple Acquired Mapping Firm BroadMap, Note-Taking App Catch in 2013 [Updated]
Apple reportedly acquired mapping firm BroadMap and Evernote competitor Catch in 2013, reports 9to5Mac, citing data acquired from "evidence and chatter from sources," including LinkedIn profiles.
Several former BroadMap employees are now listed as working at Apple on LinkedIn, including the company's former Director of Program Management who now works in "Maps Data Validation" at Apple. BroadMap CEO Daniel Perrone's LinkedIn profile suggests the company was purchased by a "Fortune 5" company for "supporting their digital mapping efforts."
We have specifically heard from a source directly familiar with Apple's mergers and acquisitions process that Apple acquired BroadMap. The source says that the acquisition was mostly centered around talent, not solely BroadMap's technology. In addition to the information from our source, there is evidence online that Apple made the acquisition.
BroadMap is a company that provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services, designed to analyze and manage geographical data. The company provides GIS tools along with Digital Mapping Data Products, Location Intelligence, and Web and Mobile Application Development.
Catch, which suspended its service in August, was reportedly acquired in the same month according to the former LinkedIn profile of the company's Vice President of Business Development. While it remains uncertain whether Apple officially acquired the company, multiple former employees are now working at Apple, including the company's co-founder.
While Catch being acquired following promotion from Apple does not exactly indicate that Apple is the buyer, we have heard from multiple sources that the majority of Catch employees are now working for Apple. The sources say that the former list of Catch employees, which even includes co-founder Andreas Schobel, are working on iOS-related software.
Catch, a popular notetaking and archiving service, was behind the Catch Notes app, which originally launched in 2010. The app, designed to allow users to create text, photo, and voice notes, earned multiple awards and was previously featured on Apple's "New and Noteworthy" list of apps. It is unknown how Apple could utilize Catch's technology, but possible use cases include integration with Siri, Reminders, or Notes.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company made a total of 15 acquisitions during fiscal 2013, which has also included companies like AlgoTrim, Cue, Passif Semiconductor, and Matcha.tv. The company has also made several mapping-related acquisitions, including Embark, HopStop, WifiSLAM, and Locationary.
While eight of Apple's fiscal 2013 acquisitions have been confirmed, several others remain unknown.
Update: AllThingsD reports that both Catch and BroadMap were indeed acquired by Apple earlier in 2013. Apple confirmed the rumors with its standard acquisition statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Update 2: Despite reports confirming the acquisition, BroadMap has stated on Twitter that the company was not purchased by Apple.
Sorry to disappoint everyone but contrary to current reports @BroadMap has not been purchased by Apple. — BroadMap (@BroadMap) December 23, 2013
@markgurman Broadmap is not owned by anyone right now. Apple acquired staff and IP but not the company itself. — James Fee (@cageyjames) December 23, 2013
@markgurman From what I've been told by staffers is that the management and IP was brought by Apple and licensed back to what was left. — James Fee (@cageyjames) December 23, 2013