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Apple Maps: Oh, the Places It Wants to Go

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Last week, Apple (AAPL) purchased Locationary to help continue building out its Maps application. The same day, it was discovered Apple also acquired HopStop. Apple is not only serious about improving its offerings, it's doing so in a shareholder friendly way.

HopStop, which TheStreet recommended as one of the top five mapping applications in the App Store, will eventually become part of Apple's Maps app. Right now, there are still apps for iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android, but it removed support from Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows platform, much to the chagrin of Windows Phone users.

While the purchase price of both deals was not disclosed, it's pretty clear Apple didn't spend anywhere near the $1.1 billion Google spent buying Waze. That shows fiscal prudence, something not many companies can say when they make acquisitions.

There are lots of people in the media and on Wall Street who want Apple to make big, expensive acquisitions, like Netflix (NFLX), Hulu or something else. What these people are missing is that Apple doesn't do something unless it feels it can add to an existing platform to make it better, or it absolutely feels it's a "must have" technology. There is nothing major out there that Apple feels it's willing to pay for, and that shows prudence, despite what some talking heads will have you believe.

Ultimately, it's up to Apple to integrate the two companies into Apple Maps to make the platform a much better experience for users than it already is. When the Locationary acquisition was confirmed, I said "I would expect more tuck-in acquisitions like this in the future from Apple," but I didn't expect anything so soon.

Apple is not taking the criticism that its Maps app is inferior lying down. CEO Tim Cook's apology last year showed how important it was to improve the application. "Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world," Cook said in what amounted to an apology for the the app's sub-par performance. Not only is Apple serious about improving its own software and services, it's doing so in a fiscally responsible manner.

That isn't something shareholders can cry about.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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