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When it comes to maps, Android co-founder thinks Apple made a wrong turn

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Rich Miner — who co-founded Android, sold it to Google (s goog) and now is a partner at Google Ventures — tried using the new Apple Maps (s aapl) 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 (s rimm) 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.

Check out the rest of our Mobilize 2012 coverage here, and the live stream can be found here.

8 Responses to “When it comes to maps, Android co-founder thinks Apple made a wrong turn”

  1. brucewedding

    t’s often a mistake to build instead of buy but Apple’s made a hell of a company out of the philosophy. And Google has made one out of buying. Both can work. I don’t think that’s the problem with Maps.

    Apple, in their never-ending quest to be better AND different, is going to take some wrong turns (pun intended). Maps is one of them. You don’t always have to be different to be better.

  2. Steve Jobs is a perfectionist and this wouldn’t have happened under his watch. Releasing a imperfect map is just the glimpse of apple’s leftover management. It will be interesting to see the next screw up. Enjoy the spectacle.

  3. One of the more amazing things these days are the iPhone lovers ensuring themself the ‘apple maps are not that bad’ and comparing it with GMaps on iOS when everyone nows the iOS version of GMaps is lightyears behind the Android version.

  4. Firstly, Rich Miner using an Apple phone is good news. Means he accepts its better than Android.

    Secondly the whole Apple Maps thing is blown out of proportion, thanks perhaps to opposing platform propaganda army. I have had terrible experiences using Google Maps, just like SmileDahling. I have been thrown off course, Maps has hung on me, showing roads which no longer exist and so on. Making an up to date Map is a hugely difficult task, especially when roads keep changing and so do directions of traffic.

    This is Apple Maps first year vs Google Maps’, what, 10th?

    Thirdly, i dont think consumers were frustrated. In anything, i think theres more device frustrations now: expensive phones hanging, crashing, lost numbers, multiple numbers, email not working is a concern, corrupt data cards, getting device to communicate with other devices, a whole lot of stuf that earlier just wasnt there. I can imagine the frustratikn of Android users who try to keep using older versions of a fragmented OS, perhaps cant upgrade because their device hardware is too low tech, and no one warned them of hat while buying.

    People buy a new device because its exciting. People get bored often.

  5. Maps is not *that* bad. It’s not great, but it’s not such an utter disaster as everyone is making it out to be. And Google Maps has screwed me over countless times in the past. It once routed me to Vermont when my destination was Boston Logan airport. Seriously.

    Anyway, I like how the new maps is tied to Yelp because people write more reviews there anyway. It will ultimately be better for my small business. As more people use it, it will get better based on user data alone.

    All that aside, I use Waze. :-)