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Apple/Google mapping split based on turn-by-turn issues

updated 04:20 pm EDT, Wed September 26, 2012

Control, branding of data created flashpoints

The split between Apple and Google over iOS 6's Maps app can be traced back to a dispute over voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, say sources for AllThingsD. While turn-by-turn has long been core to the Android version of Maps, the feature was missing from iOS until this month, in part because it wasn't included with the deal that originally brought Google Maps to the iPhone. Apple is said to have wanted the feature very badly, and pushed Google to supply data.

Google allegedly resisted, on the basis that it had spent tremendous amounts of money on turn-by-turn data, and that the technology was a selling point for Android. In exchange it asked for things like more control over the iOS Maps feature set, in-app branding, and/or adding Google Latitude, none of which Apple was willing to concede. Eventually the demands created "major points of contention" between the two companies, according to ATD, exacerbating other conflicts over questions like how much user information Google was collecting from iOS Maps.

"There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest," says once source claimed to be familiar with the talks. "Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker."

By that point Apple had already been buying up mapping companies, and decided to accelerate the creation of its own app with the intent of making it a main feature in iOS 6. When Apple realized it would indeed be able to get the tech into 6, it jettisoned Google, even with a massive amount of time left on a Google Maps contract.

Now, though, the company may be regretting its decision, remarks a source said to have been briefed on Apple's strategy. "Apple knew it had a lot of catching up to do in maps. But given what's happened the past few days, I think they felt they were farther along than they actually are," the person comments. Users of iOS 6 Maps have been complaining about inaccuracies, missing features, and graphics glitches.

As much as Apple has suffered bad publicity though, Google has lost a significant userbase. Over 100 million people have already upgraded iOS devices to iOS 6, cutting Google off from their data, and reducing the market for advertisers.

by MacNN Staff



  1. macmediausa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-05

    I love using Google maps turn by turn - in fact I specifically bought an HTC Evo to use it - but slowly will migrate to the IOS maps as it gets better.

    Google royally screwed Apple by creating Android while they had seats on the Apple board. Apple's turn to get revenge though there are many bumps in the road and the Maps 6.0 will only get better.

  1. rexray

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-15-02

    Really folks, the iOS 6 Maps story is overblown. Apple's Maps app works as expected for most users in the U.S., and it will only improve. As many others have said, other maps programs have glitches too - the MapQuest app doesn't show the Starbucks that's two blocks from my house - but nobody seems to be acknowledging that. Apple always seems to catch a bit more heat that other companies when their products are less than perfect. Perhaps it's because they have such a track record for delivering excellent products. BTW, Garmin just released an update to their app that works with Apple Maps and supplies Google's Street View, for those that must have it.

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-03-99

    I'm happy to hear that. I was a bit mad at Apple because I thought that was some kind of vendetta but now it appears Google were the douche bags here..

  1. mojkarma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-13-11

    Originally Posted by rexrayView Post

    Really folks, the iOS 6 Maps story is overblown. Apple's Maps app works as expected for most users in the U.S., and it will only improve.

    Geez, how I hate this attitude. In that case Apple should sell the iphone only in the US. You should know that there is life outside of US (regardless whether you care or not) and that those human species outside of the US pays the same money to that company and expects the same functionality under the more or less same conditions.
    The story is not overblown, it's real and comes from millions and millions people who - according to the new map app live in a moon dessert or in the rainforest.

    Further, it's funny how people here accuse Google on copying the Android from iOS, while at the same time nobody complains about the fact that both, Google and Android actually stepped into the business of Garmin, TomTom and/or other companies who live from making gps and navigation devices.

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