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Meanwhile Apple is reportedly trying desperately to woo Google Maps engineers

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) made a bold gamble deciding to kick Google Inc.'s (GOOG) highly functional Google Maps app off its i-devices with iOS 6, in lieu of its own homegrown alternative.  The move was perhaps foreshadowed by Apple's long-standing refusal to allow Google Maps the hardware API access necessary to do turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone.

I. Apple Maps Woes Mar iPhone 5 Experience

Early builds of the iOS 6 Apple Maps were full of flaws.  And while principle partner TomTom N.V. (AMS:TOM2) -- who Apple gets most of its mapping database from -- promised to help fix the flaws, it looks like the version that launched with Apple iPhone 5 is still mediocre at best and a nightmarish mess at worst.  

Cities were misplaced or worse yet wound up in the ocean. Requests for directions in major cities (e.g. New York City) were met with cryptic addresses.  To sum up the prevailing sentiment InfoWorld mobile analyst Galen Gruman writes, "For the short term, I recommend you not use Apple Maps."

Apple iOS 6 Maps
Apple Maps have some issues. [Image Source: Apple]

II. Scorned Google Chimes In

Google, whose Android operating system Apple has called a "copycat" and whose partners have been sued for not "innovating" enough, was quick to pounce on these reports.

The official Google+ account of Google's phonemaking subsidiary Motorola Mobility posted a picture mocking Apple Maps as "iLost" and plugging Android's alternative:

iLost
[Image Source: Google+/Motorola Mobility]

The situation isn't looking pretty for Apple Maps.  True, Apple owners can rest easy in knowing that Tim Cook and company (partially) drove the big bad Google off their prized i-Devices, but it is appearing a very Pyrrhic victory.  

III.  Apple is Recruiting ex-Google Maps Devs

According to TechCrunch, the dire situation has prompted Apple to begin trying to poach Google Maps engineers.  The report quotes a source as saying:

Many of my coworkers at Google Maps eventually left when their contracts ended or on their own accord. One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him. He had heard rumors for a while that Apple was going to develop its own in-house mapping platform, and given his experience at Google, he was an easy hire. Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he’s now paid handsomly as a GIS Analyst. Another coworker that was a project lead at Google Maps, left for the East Coast after his contract ended, and was recently contacted by an Apple recruiter. The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast. He’s gone through 2 rounds of interview and seems like a frontrunner to land that position.

Still, even as Apple moves a bit closer to keeping up with the Androids in terms of screen size and cellular modem technology, it's fallen farther behind on the Maps front -- a critical piece of functionality to today's Swiss Army Knife-esque smartphones.  


George Takei/Facebook

One has to wonder whether the Maps mess will take a bit of the luster off the otherwise polished product.  Early sales, however, have been unaffected as Apple's faithful fans helped it move 5 million units over the launch weekend.

Sources: Google+ [Motorola], TechCrunch, InfoWorld, CNN



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RE: They didn't get the joke in China
By Tony Swash on 9/24/2012 8:26:36 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
Because, Tony, Google is a bit player in China's IT scene and continues to be at loggerheads with the Chinese government.

How that little fact flies completely over your head is the cause of much LOL.


How on earth does that change my point?

Apple maps are already better in China, almost certainly the most important world market in the next decade, than Googles. That's the point.

Google is distrusted by many, including the Chinese tech giants and the Chinese government, with good reason. Conversely Apple's new map system is open to all sorts of local partnerships (look at Apple's partnership with Russian search engine Yandex for local map data for example) in a way in which Google's maps cannot be because Google is in direct competition with owners and gatherers of local data in a way in which Apple is not.

Stop thinking of the new iOS map system as a feature and think of it as a new V1 platform (much like Passbook) which has enormous potential for fast growth and development, particularly involving third party partners and developers.

And remember - at least half of Google's mobile mapping users are in the process of going away.


RE: They didn't get the joke in China
By ritualm on 9/24/2012 8:47:03 PM , Rating: 3
No, it isn't. Apple Maps continues to be worse than Google's in more ways than one. You don't have a point, you are only here to play ball for Apple when it suits your interests, and your arguments are as witty and informative as those coming from the Birthers.

The Chinese government doesn't like Google for its refusal to play by its rules while within China. Doesn't matter either way. Google? Less than 10% of the market dominated by Baidu.

Apple Maps isn't even a V1.0 as you touted it is, it's barely 0.1.1-pre alpha release. It was terrible during iOS 6 beta, it continues to be terrible now. Eye candy and so-called "3D flyover views" - things that Apple excels at - are amongst the very last things people care about in a mapping app.

Accuracy and reliability. Google at least hits the marks somewhat consistently. Apple? Germany is located in Antarctica according to Apple! Schools are treated as parks! No transit system information at all! No details of subway entrances/exits! Instead of tracing a direct route from point A to point B, it goes in a big circle and still ends up at a spot too far away from point B!

V1 platform? In your dreams, senile old tart.


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