At this point, the consensus of everyone from the smallest Apple blogs to the venerable Wall Street Journal is that Apple will dump Google as its Maps provider in iOS 6 in favor of its own, in-house technology that will bring, among other enhancements, 3D mapping to the mix.
Apple’s move has caught Google not just off-guard, it’s put the search giant into a total panic. Need proof? Look no further than Google’s debacle of an emergency announcement today, in which they unveiled “the next dimension of Google Maps.”
During this announcement, Google coincidentally announced their own 3D Maps solution… coincidentally enough, just five days before Apple’s expected to unveil theirs. Oh, and they showed it working on an iPad instead of an Android tablet… and their app was so hacked together it crashed numerous times during the presentation.
Can anyone say “rushed?”
The whole event just screamed panic on Google’s part. After all, the search giant is having its own massive event, Google I/O, in just three weeks, at the same Moscone Center Apple will be holding WWDC 2012 next week. Why would Google hold their own Maps event three weeks before Google I/O if they weren’t in damage control mode?
And that iPad! Google’s got its own mobile operating system, Android, and they have been desperately trying to get people to buy Android tablets. So why is Google showing off their new 3D Maps technology on an iPad first, instead of an Ice Cream Sandwich tablet?
The answer’s self-evident. Google wants to send the message that even after Apple dumps them next Monday, their apps will still work on iOS. Sure, they won’t be baked into the core operating system anymore, but you’ll still be able to download them from the App Store.
The number of crashes that Google experienced while showing off the app during the presentation makes it look liket they literally just hacked together an iPad app to show off in the last few weeks, after they got an early heads-up that Apple was severing their business relationship.
Google’s scared shitless. Somehow, they were caught with their pants down. They seem to have been in denial for these last couple years that Apple was looking to sever its business with them… this despite the fact that Apple started gobbling up mapping companies back in 2009, and released iPhoto for iOS using OpenStreetMaps instead of Google’s API.
Why’s this such a big deal? Google makes more money off of iOS than it does Android. Most of that is through search, but licensing Google Maps to Apple is extremely profitable for the company. And it gets worse! Google makes a lot of money off of iOS App Developers who license the Maps API for their apps, but with Apple coming up with its own solution, app developers will likely be able to use this for free. That’s a huge blow.
With iOS 6, Google’s losing a big chunk of its iOS revenue. Worse, Google’s unlikely to make up much of it in other ways: why download Google’s Maps app from the App Store when Apple’s own Maps software is built into the operating system, and getting directions with it is as easy as tapping on an address in Mail, or asking Siri how to get somewhere.
Make no mistake. What we’re seeing here is Google finally realizing that they pissed off the wrong company. Not only did they betray a company that was once one of their great allies, they made a mess of it. It would be one thing if Android was making Google tons of money, but it’s not: if anything, it’s supplementing revenue Google makes off iOS, not vice versa. And why? Android’s fragmented, a complete mess, and its growth stalling as consumers get more savvy.
When iOS 6 debuts next week, Apple’s finally going to make Google pay for Android. And Google’s crapping themselves over it. With good reason, wouldn’t you say?