Rich Miner — who co-founded Android, sold it to Google and now is a partner at Google Ventures — tried using the new Apple Maps to get to a meeting this morning and got lost, making him late for the meeting. Miner told Om Malik at GigaOM Mobilize on Thursday afternoon regarding Apple’s decision to create Maps: “There’s build and there’s buy, and they decided to build and I’m not sure that was the right decision.”
Miner’s thoughts on Apple Maps was just one of the many topics of conversation during the interview. Carriers are another group that Miner thinks have made their fair share of mistakes over the years. Carriers own billing and they own the network and they haven’t really taken advantage of those to add value to the user interface or to create an app ecosystem, Miner said, adding “They just let that train leave the station.”
Carriers just keep conceding, says Miner. Back when Miner co-founded Android, he says one of the goals was to help carriers create a user interface and experience for their customers. But that was before Google bought the software startup, and it is now using it as the cornerstone of its mobile strategy.
When Miner looks back at where Android was then and where it is today, he said one of the few surprising things is that it was hard to predict the quick rate of of consumer adoption. Adoption of Android and Apple’s iOS has been so fast, that it’s clear that “people didn’t really understand how frustrated people were,” with the poor user mobile experiences before that.
Now Miner invests in startups for Google’ venture arm. He said he is excited about startups that can use mobile apps to change the enterprise, and gave a shout-out to PlanGrid, which has a blueprint app for the construction industry, and which Google Ventures backed. In particular, RIM has lost so much market cap over the years, Miner says he thinks that will deliver a lot of opportunity for new mobile enterprise innovation.