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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Tony Swash on 9/25/2012 6:10:27 AM , Rating: 0
quote:
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.


Again how does this invalidate any point I am making? All you seem to be doing is confirming what I am saying. Google maps suck in China, Apple's maps don't. Whatever the cause that means Apple's maps product is better in China on day one than Google's is after several years.

The ability of Apple to partner with local mapping data holders and collectors is a huge plus for Apple's new mapping platform and is a strategic advantage of Google because it is something Google can almost never do because local data holders are precisely the people that Google is in competition with.

What must be really galling for you though is that for all the faux hysteria of people like yourself who don't own or like Apple products but bizarrely love to get all worked up about Apple cable connectors (WTF) or the shortcoming of Apple Maps or even stranger an obscure IP issue involving Swiss railways and a clock (WTFX2) you know, as we all know, that the iPhone is already a huge hit, that it will outsell the iPhone 4S and that Apple will post record breaking revenues and profits this coming holiday quarter of quite staggering proportions.


"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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