Apple dropped Google Maps over directions
28 Sep 2012
Disagreement over spoken turn-by-turn navigation key to Google Maps departure
The general reception for Apple's new mapping program on iOS 6 has not been great. In fact, just days after the iOS 6 update dropped, there was even talk of Google hurrying through an updated Maps app of its own to deal with demand. So why did Google actually leave the iPhone and iPad in the first place? It seems voice navigation was the key.
According to AllThingsD, 'multiple sources familiar with Apple’s thinking' say the company felt it had no choice but to replace Google Maps with its own offering because Google was not willing to offer voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions for the latest Apple software update and devices.
It has been available for free for Android mobile phones for quite some time, but was never part of the deal between Apple and Google. Apple was keen to add it, not least to get parity with the Android platform. Google was less keen to offer it to a competing platform.
In addition, those same sources claimed Google wanted more input into the iOS maps feature set, rather than just providing data, as well as wanting in-app branding and the addition of Google Latitude. Something Apple declined.
'There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest,' one source familiar with Apple and Google’s negotiations said. 'Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker.'
Apple subsequently began quietly acquiring mapping companies and fast-tracked development of an in-house maps app with voice-guided navigation for iOS 6. When it got near that goal, it decided to drop Google completely. Something that hasn't quite worked out as hoped.
'Apple knew it had a lot of catching up to do in maps,' a person briefed on Apple’s strategy said. 'But, given what’s happened the past few days, I think they felt they were farther along than they actually are.'
Google is said to be rushing out an iOS Maps app, but so far, nothing has been confirmed. In a statement, it said: 'We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.'