Apparently, Apple made the decision to dump Google maps for iOS 6 was made more than a year before the contract with Google for their map system expired, says a new post at The Verge that cites “independent sources familiar with the matter.” Further, the choice may have caused Google to start development on it’s own iOS Google Maps app before it was ready to. These same sources say the potential app won’t be ready for several months.
Leaks around the controversial decision at Apple headquarters may have been part of the reason for Google’s own Google Maps event just before WWDC, when Apple ultimately announced iOS 6’s new maps app, says the Verge, which goes on to say that Apple was feeling neglected by Google, which had given its own Android-based Google Maps app more advanced features like turn by turn navigation. For the search-giant’s part, Google executives were unhappy with the current renewal terms, as well as with the less-prominent branding in the default iOS 5 and earlier Maps app.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt echoed these insider reports in a talk with reporters in Tokyo this morning, and is quoted as saying, “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours,” he said, referring to Google Maps. “But what do I know? What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”
Regardless, it seems as if the Maps competition is just another salvo in the all out battle between the two operating systems, iOS and Android. Apple had every right once the contract was up to switch services, and they did so. PLanning to do so before a contract is up is just smart, since it allowed the company to be ready when the terms of contract were finished.
Competition is usually regarded as a good thing, an engine driving innovation and quality. Unfortunately, when the competition involves such things as witholding critical upgrades like turn-by-turn navigation or releasing an inferior product due to contract negotiations, it’s consumers that lose out.