Apple Inc. (AAPL): Has It Found Its Waze to Compete With Google Inc (GOOG)?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), up until its very public spat with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) came to a head with the release of iOS 6 last fall, had a reputation for producing at least  some quality software and services to go with its devices. However, the company  had a spectacularly public stumble, trip and fall (well-documented here) when it kicked Google Maps off its native OS platform and attempted to replace it with its own mapping application.

Mainly because the change was made at the last minute and there seemed to be no time allotted for beta testing, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rolled out its inferior mapping app to uproarious disgust and disappointment. It was so bad, CEO Tim Cook Tim Cookhad to issue a public apology with a vow to make quick, dramatic improvements to the application. In the meantime, though, Apple seemed to be dragging its feet to approve the Google Maps app for the Apple App Store, so users had limited options if they wanted to switch away from Apple’s native mapping while the bugs and mistakes got fixed. And once that Maps app was approved, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was able to get much of its market share back.

Because first impressions are important, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) suffered mightily with its mapping app despite making many quick improvements in the months since Cook’s apology, to the point that the app is has become more than serviceable  by some accounts. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs more in the wake of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) acquiring Israeli crowdsourced mapping app Waze, which would enhance Google’s real-time mapping and driving directions capability by getting feedback from Waze users about current traffic and construction information along certain routes. Word is now that Apple may have found at least one answer – and it didn’t have to go to the Middle East.

There are reports coming out Friday morning that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has agreed to buy a Toronto app startup called Locationary, which is a crowdsourced location data app. While Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will use Waze for traffic and construction in real time, Locationary compiles specific location information and can lay it over a digital map – information such as phone numbers, website, hours of operation of a business and whether there is Wi-fi access, for example. There is no word on a specific price tag for the purchase, but a source quotes it is “multiple tens of millions” of dollars. You know, pocket change, right?