We now know that both Apple and Google are planning to release new mapping services in the next couple of days, but what we haven’t heard about up until this point is the details about the road both companies have taken to reach this point. The Wall Street Journal has put together an interesting expose on the new mobile maps battle between Google and Apple. With 90 percent of U.S. iPhone users spending time with Google Maps, it seems like it was almost inevitable for Apple to move away from Google Maps and instead build their own mapping system.
The report outlines the tensions between Apple and Google, and the difficulties Apple faced in licensing the technology from Google, and Google’s lack of interest in giving Apple more control over the application.
For instance, did you know that Apple wanted to include Google’s turn-by-turn navigation system in the Maps app, but Google wouldn’t let them do it? What about the fact that Google wanted more branding space within Maps, and for Apple to include Latitude, only to have Apple refrain and eventually launch Find My Friends instead? All true scenarios according to the Wall Street Journal.
From the sounds of it, Apple and Google have been bumping heads over Maps for years. It’s no wonder Apple’s had enough and has decided to build its own in-house solution that would have a more “holistic” approach to maps, with the mapping system built into other Apple software, much like it already is in iPhoto for iOS. Almost exactly a year ago we saw a patent popup on our radar that placed a large emphasis on scheduling appointments based on current traffic conditions. The technology would not only give you the best directions to arrive at a film on time, but it would also recommend movie times and theatre locations based on traffic densities. Finding places on a map is one thing, but making use of that information in-app, in a meaningful way, is the future. By the sounds of it, Apple doesn’t believe Google could deliver that future on the iPhone.
It’s also rumored that mobile advertisements in Google’s maps and location services accounts brought in approximately $625 million dollars in revenue for Google. Is it all that surprising that Apple has plans to provide their own mapping service when we hear numbers like that thrown around? It’s not surprising at all really.
Steve Jobs said he was going thermonuclear on Android and Google, and it now looks like the team at Apple has a map available to carry that plan out. In Apple’s opinion, and much like Dropbox before it, Google Maps is a feature, and Apple’s pretty good at building features in house.
Anyway, if you have access to The Wall Street Journal, the full article (behind a paywall) is worth a read, despite there being so many “people in the know” and “people familiar with the matter” that it’s hard to figure out who’s who in the story.