Heads continue to roll at Apple over Maps fiasco. Why doesn’t Apple just concede to Google Maps?

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November 28, 2012
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    Image credit: Consumer Reports

    I’ve been reading a lot about how iOS 6 users are finding their Maps app inadequate for their needs. I have not actually tried iOS6 Maps until last week when I upgraded my old iPhone to 6.0.1. I can say that it absolutely sucks. Even the Google Maps implementation in a cheap-o Gingerbread-powered Samsung Galaxy Y that I own is worlds better in terms of speed, navigation and functionality (like offline caching and “star” syncing, to name a few).

    It seems people are starting to notice and do something about it, including Apple executives. Reports have it that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP for software and services, has edged out Richard Williamson, who has — until now — headed Apple’s Maps effort. Sources from within Apple say Cue wants to install a new leadership team for its Maps group, although it’s not immediately known who will head this effort moving forward.

    After receiving much criticism for Maps in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, Apple CEO Tim Cook actually issued an apology in which  he said the company was “extremely sorry for the frustration” that Maps has caused iOS users. To date, Google has not yet released its own standalone Maps application for iOS 6, even though the company has already released a YouTube app in lieu of Apple’s replacing the iOS video app with their own. Some cite Apple’s stringent approval process, although Google may likewise be deliberately delaying its own development or submission, if only to let its own Android platform maintain an advantage in this area.

    Apart from Williamson, another high-profile executive also left Apple in line with the Maps fiasco a few weeks back. Scott Forstall, who has headed iOS development since the start, also left Apple, in a move that was rumored to be related to the disappointment with Maps. Forstall was reportedly unwilling to be part of the apology letter that Apple issued regarding Maps, hence his untimely departure.

    Is Apple finally going to do something about their Maps app? It’s one thing to release a half-baked product and improve along the way. Both startups and big companies do this under what they consider to be “beta” applications. But Apple made the mistake of saying its Maps would be one of the best services, but then proceeded to disappoint.

    Not all Apple products have been market successes, and in its current iteration, Maps will probably go down history as another Newton, Lisa or G4 Cube. Heads have rolled in Apple’s aim to fix its mistake. Will Maps emerge as a better product moving forward? Or should Apple just bite the bullet and let Google handle what they do best?

    Comments

    • xoj_21

      because they trying to hurt google income.
      even if they have to put worse maps than google maps, google macs alot fo iphones and ipads,

    • Shane Tu

      let them keep their maps…. it’s a joke…

      • JosephHindy

        They only made it so they can patent it. By this time next year, Apple will sue every company that has a maps app that gives bad directions.

        You saw it here first :D

    • True_Neutral

      Well, part of the reason why they won’t concede to Google is because they have already spent so much resources on their own maps.

      Of course, for Apple to reach parity with Google will take a really long time. Google Maps took more than 5 years to reach where it is now, and that’s when one takes into account Google’s prowess with information gathering and processing. This is one thing that Google really does well. In fact, one can predict what is going to come to Google Maps next, with their recent Augmented Reality game Ingress which some are calling a crowd-sourced effort to add walking directions to Google Maps.

      That said, Apple has the mentality of an 8-year old child. They will not do business with anyone who has offended them, even if it’s in their own best interest.

      • hohopig

        not just that. And also indoor floor plan … and perhaps even navigation some day :P

    • cycad007

      I’m not sure what’s the big deal. Yes, Apple’s Maps app was inferior but I’m glad they’re now determined to improve and beat Google at this. Regardless of the result, competition makes everyone better. Anyone cheering for Google Maps to dominate the maps app space is missing the big picture. We should *WANT* other players to provide alternative & innovative mapping apps!

      Just remember that Google has laid a couple of eggs (Google TV and Mesh) before. It’s not a big deal…just keep improving/innovating and good things will happen.

      • mohdamr1

        Yes, apple should beat everybody at every single thing and on top of that chase them in courts to sue them for it.
        Normal competition is not enough for apple, apple wants to have monoply an all sorts of technology. They will use their dozens of billions and lawyer army to do that. Keep buying I phones for high prices, a chinese kid sold his kidney to buy a shiny bright I phone 4s. Brain washing the people is also helping apple.

        • cycad007

          You obviously missed the *WHOLE* point as I advocated for a healthy ecosystem of mapping apps. If Apple, Google, or Nokia dominates than we all lose. Having competition is the best way to bring about apps with innovative features and great UX.

          Yes, Apple has spent millions in legal tussles with HTC and Samsung. I’m not a fan of either Apple’s or Samsung’s lawsuits. But what do you think business is? A place where every one sings and dances?! Hell no…It’s cut-throat…winner takes all! We might not like the lawsuits flying around but they should hardly be surprising. Bash Apple all you want…but Samsung isn’t exactly an angel either. They’ve been guilty of price-fixing in the DRAM & CRT glass markets.

          However, it should be noted that Apple initially offered Samsung a cross-licensing patent agreement [Samsung refused] and HTC did recently ink a deal with Apple. Apple also has a cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft. That doesn’t come across as monopolistic behavior to me….just good ol’ capitalistic behavior.

          Nobody is brainwashing the public. Its just effective marketing. People simply buy products that appeal to them. For the record, I own an Android phone.

          • alex008

            How much du they pay you, Apple Troll?
            P***ing on Android and claiming: “By the way trust me, im one of you!”, you are hardly trustworthy.

            • cycad007

              OK…exactly so how did I “P**” Android exactly?

              I stated the following…

              1. Having competition is healthy in the mapping apps space

              2. Samsung has been guilty of price-fixing in the past

              3. Apple offered a cross-licensing agreement to Samsung.

              4. Apple/HTC agreed to cross-license

              5. Apple/Microsoft agreed to cross-license

              6. Apple has a very good marketing department

              7. I own an Android phone

              You’re mad because of #7?!? Really Alex?! Really? I guess I shouldn’t tell you that I own a good number of shares in GOOG too….

            • Apple_Nexus

              It’s refreshing to read from someone who has a clue. Don’t let blind fanboys (from either side) get you down. :)

          • hohopig

            It is a misleading info. Did you even read the terms of the cross licensing patent and how much each party is bringing to the table?

            • cycad007

              hohopig – Where did I mislead and exactly why would I specifically need to read the cross-licensing agreements? My point was that a cross-licensing agreement is not a typical behavior of a monopolist.

              As you know, the terms of the Apple/HTC agreement is confidential. The terms of the proposed Apple/Samsung agreement are public. Feel free to Google for them yourself.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1076674789 Friðberg Leifs Jensson

        Apple doesn’t know what competition is. If Apple would know what competition is they wouldn’t be in court and suing every mobile manufacturer.

        • cycad007

          Apple isn’t suing *EVERY* mobile manufacturer. But I understand your point. Understand too…that if you were a Apple shareholder, you’d expect nothing less. Its just business/capitalism. It doesn’t have to right or fair…which is what I think you and most people right-minded would argue.

      • hohopig

        Yes if it is other company, perhaps more people will be cheering. But the ONE company that is misusing the patent situation and trying to kill all competition? hardly

    • Marvin Nakajima

      Unless iOS somehow blocks ALL Google Maps access by websites using Google Maps on their pages, the effects of losing the App is not a big deal for Google since it never had turn-by-turn navigation in the first place. Ad income-wise the change is relatively minor for Google since most people I know view directions to restaurants, stores via the browser where they make their money and use the Maps App only really to search for particular address of interest only to the individual (mostly non-commerce related thus no ad-income). Though beating Google Maps is an admirable goal for Apple, they should first beat the GPS navigator companies (or at least buy one them).

      • Luke0421

        Ummmm. Yes. Google maps has had turn by turn directions for about 3 years now. so now go home and cry yourself to sleep tonight! Applefag

        • Marvin Nakajima

          ?? No need to get all up in arms Mr. Applefag (I don’t know why you call yourself that).. I’m sorry perhaps I should clarify, I was under the impression one of the main reasons Apple dropped the Google Maps App was that the iOS App did NOT have SPOKEN turn-by-turn navigation. If you read a bit more carefully you might see that I’m not putting Google down. My first and only smartphone to date is the Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch serviced by Sprint MVNO Ting.com.

    • carlisimo

      Apple developed their own Maps app largely so they could give iPhone owners turn-by-turn navigation. If Google includes that in their upcoming iOS app, then Apple pretty much got what it wanted. If not, then once Apple Maps gets better, more people will use it over Google Maps.

      I have to admit, it has potential. The vector based graphics do seem noticeably faster, and the interface is a bit easier than Google’s (I prefer the way it handles bookmarking locations). But it looks like it still won’t be very useful before Google’s release. That could be a fatal blow.

      • hohopig

        hardly … have Apple ever release anything good for their fans without making them pay for it?

    • Kindroid

      Want to know how long it will take to fix Apple Maps? Check out this web post:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/elandekel/2012/11/28/why-did-apple-fire-the-maps-product-manager/

    J. Angelo Racoma is a journalist and community manager with a keen eye for emerging standards and technologies. He is passionate about the enabling nature...

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