Apple Earth? Apple acquires Quebec City’s Poly9

Google has Google Earth. Could Apple have an ‘Apple Earth’ in the works?

Rumors are swirling this afternoon that Apple has purchased Quebec City-based mapping startup Poly9.

Poly9, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Quebec City, offers a web-based 3D mapping service similar to Google Earth. Over the last few years it has been used by such notable clients as Skype and NORAD’s Santa Tracker.

This morning reported that the company was recently sold to Apple, with most of its small staff already relocated to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. No official announcement of the sale has been made by Apple or Poly9… yet.

Apple currently uses Google Maps as the default mapping app on its mobile hardware. Given the widening rift between Apple and Google, it wouldn’t be a shock to learn that Steve Jobs’ team is building a homegrown alternative to Google’s software.