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11/16/2012
12:24 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone

When Google submits its rewritten Google Maps app for iOS, Apple can't block it.

Apple iOS 6: 10 Most Interesting Features
Apple iOS 6: 10 Most Interesting Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google has nearly completed work on a new version of Google Maps for the iPhone. Citing sources familiar with Google's plans, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is now field testing the app outside of Google. It should soon be ready for Google to submit to Apple for approval.

Apple booted Google Maps from the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch earlier this year with the introduction of iOS 6. Google Maps was a part of iOS from the very first iPhone through September of this year -- a partnership that lasted more than five years. But Apple has been divorcing itself from Google's goods and services ever since the two began battling head-to-head with competing smartphone platforms.

Apple replaced Google Maps with its own mapping product. Embarrassingly for Apple, Apple Maps has been a complete failure. Users immediately complained that the app was inferior to Google Maps. It was (still is?) riddled with mistakes, missing towns, distorted imagery, and other goof-ups. The black eye Apple received for Apple Maps probably played a role in Apple iOS head Scott Forstall's recent departure from Apple. Apple was forced to apologize for the Apple Maps disaster and has been working hard to fix the software ever since.

What everyone wants to know, of course, is whether or not Apple will approve the new Google Maps.

[ For more on the status of Google Maps for iOS 6, see Google Maps For iOS 6 In Beta. ]

Traditionally, Apple has disliked apps and services that compete with the iPhone's (or iPad's) native software and services. For years, it wouldn't allow competitive apps in the app store. It has relaxed that policy a bit. For example, iPhone users can use alternate email applications (including Google's Gmail app), alternate browsers (including Google's Chrome app), and alternate cloud syncing services (including Google's Drive app).

After the Apple Maps fiasco, Apple understood that it had made a mistake. It recommended that iPad and iPhone users find an alternate mapping application. In fact, the iTunes App Store still has a place reserved on the home page that takes users to a collection of mapping and navigation apps. Some of the apps listed there belong to MapQuest, TomTom, Magellan, TeleNav, Garmin, and even Microsoft. All these companies offer navigation apps that compete with Apple Maps. Some are free and some are not, and many don't have the deep system-wide integration that Apple Maps does (or that Google Maps did), but they still help iPhone users get from Point A to Point B and show them nearby points of interest.

Considering how Apple has relaxed some of its traditional app policies and is currently recommending competitors' mapping apps, it would look petulant and hypocritical if it were to deny Google Maps for the iPhone. Apple may not typically concern itself over such things, but this is a major exception. Denying Google Maps at this point would be opposite of everything Apple is already doing. It would be an obvious move against a competitor. It would make Apple look petty and pathetic in the eyes of many.

Apple can't say no.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey on the state of Apple in the enterprise: How has the flood of iOS devices affected use and support of Apple systems? If you're not supporting Apple gear, what's holding you back? Take our InformationWeek Apple Outlook Survey now. Survey ends Nov. 26.

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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
11/21/2012 | 7:12:36 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Whatever else you might say about it, Apple produced well designed and finished products, with fine attention to detail until Apple Maps came along. Apple Maps was an expression of the unreasonable competitiveness that's grown up between Google and Apple.In the long run, competition favors the consumer but in the short run, hyper competition tends to shortchange the consumer on specific fronts as one company or another uses its customer base as a test lab for its latest rushed out product. Apple Maps was such a test case and it failed. If Apple turns down the Google Maps for iOS, it will be another expression of that hyper-competitiveness where the customer takes a back seat.Charlie Babcock, editor at large, InformationWeek .
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/20/2012 | 3:33:19 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
My how times change. I've spent years flogging Eric for being an Apple homer, which he is in his heart of hearts, though it appears to have moderated a bit over the past year or so, and moderation is never well received by true believers.

It seems that for most commenters the real issue here, though, is one of 'journalism.' Eric appears at first glance to be practicing 'journalism,' and while there's some evidence to indicate that he really believes he is, he is actually practicing 'opinion journalism,' a la Rush Limbaugh or Chris Matthews. You will note that the column is actually labeled 'Commentary,'

IW might do well to better distinguish between actualy news articles and commentary.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
11/18/2012 | 2:20:44 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
It's very unfair to say that Apple's Maps is a complete failure. It clearly isn't. While some well publicized problems have been shown, and I saw them myself, most of what was being done has been done well. Apple has already made major improvements which can easily be seen.

The turn by turn GOS portion has worked well from the beginning, not showing any more problems than Google's version for Android.

Google's maps still have many errors of their own, as does every mapping application from everyone, including Nokia. They are all getting better. Apple's has to improve faster, and they seem to be allocating more resources towards that. Six months from now this won't be an issue.
Apollos
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Apollos,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2012 | 3:15:38 AM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Apple won't deny it. Apple WANTS google's maps on there. They just don't want Google to provide a better experience on Android than on iOS... which was the case. Google's new app will likely have turn-by-turn and vector-based apps. These are two things Google hadn't volunteered on iOS5 maps.

Funny how competition in a space produces a superior product.
Apollos
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Apollos,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2012 | 3:10:36 AM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Oh Please. Why isn't Apple going after Windows and Blackberry? They too use rounded corner rectangles on their products. I don't even have an iPhone and I can recognize desperation when I see it. I also own Samsung products. They make good stuff.

As for Google maps and this article, it's pretty obvious, given all the examples given are Google products that the writer of this article has bias. Truth be told, Apple did something really important by developing maps app. They forced Google to compete on the iPhone. Google couldn't just drop the app, they lose face and mindshare and valuable crowd-sourced data from the gaggle of iOS 6 devices out there. Now, instead of holding back vector maps, turn-by-turn navigation and other features from iOS, they will be forced to compete with a superior functioning iOS Maps. My guess is that Apple wanted to force Google's hand from the get-go. Mission accomplished.

Because of competition, a better product (new Google Maps for iOS6) is born.

I won't be surprised if Google deliberately violates some app submission rules (like mining and saving data from the device) to make it look like Apple is preventing them from the marketplace and raise the ire of people who are anti-Apple, but then they will fall in line and release the app. Lots will download it. Lots will not download it.
SIyer
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SIyer,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2012 | 6:36:18 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Would it not be anti-competitive if Apple denied Google map app, and be liable for legal action against Apple?
Karl Snow
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Karl Snow,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2012 | 4:54:47 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Eric Zeman
this article of yours is rather strange not to say more. You say that Apple Maps has been a complete failure which it absolutely is not. You continue "... the app was inferior to Google Maps.".. which is also totally wrong and talk about a fiasco! Such bold statements from you just judge themselves, and are rather pathetic and should not exist in an article in Informationweek, especially if you want to be taken more seriously than we take you today.

I am sorry Eric, it is obvious that you have not been using Apple Maps and I am sure you have not used Google Maps on iPhone before the upgrade. I have and many others if you have read some of the discussions about it.
Google Maps was a toy compared to Apple Maps today. Now you can do turn-by-turn and I can assure you that it's fantastic and that's even compared to my Garmin GPS (their top of the line product). I have used it in Europe for 2 weeks and did a comparition to my Garmin. I got a lot more failures from my Garmin than from my iPhone! And just a little thing about StreetView from Google Maps, it was amusing to play with occasionally, but not a game changer.

Of course Apple can deny Google their new map app! If they wanted to, that's simple. Google has not been playing "fair" to Apple in recent times. Why should Apple allow Google if they do not trust them and their methods of illegally collecting info about Apple's customers?

I think you must be angry that your small town does not show on Apple Maps (clouds eh) or they didn't provide FlyOver over your little pretty house. Isn't it?
Bob Lob Law
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Bob Lob Law,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2012 | 4:48:58 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
I made an account literally for one reason and one reason alone: to tell you (the author) that you have the journalistic writing ability of a two-year-old.
Learn the difference between can't and shouldn't. Apple CAN take Google Maps and shove it up their overinflated posterior for all I care. Apple SHOULDN'T because their Maps app is, quite frankly, SHIT.
Learn to write, moron.
payshunz
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payshunz,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2012 | 4:21:02 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
The only ones who refer to Apple's map app as 'Apple Maps fiasco' are tech writers and others with an agenda of some sort. Apple bashing, usually. Anyone who has used the app sees the value despite the flaws. The simple lack of turn-by-turn directions from Google's maps makes a comparison between the two ridiculous. The odds of Apples maps directing me to my desired destination are 1000% more likely than Google's maps at this point.
payshunz
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payshunz,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2012 | 4:15:39 PM
re: Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone
Simpletons unite!
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
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