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Googlers worried about Apple approving Maps app probably shouldn’t be

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While the furor around the quality of Apple’s Maps(s AAPL) app has died down somewhat since CEO Tim Cook apologized for its inadequacy, the question of whether there’s a Google Maps(s GOOG) app for iOS waiting in the wings remains. On Monday the Guardian reported that several anonymous sources at Google “are not optimistic,” for a variety of reasons, that Apple will approve such an app. That attitude is in direct contrast with Eric Schmidt’s, who is Google’s chairman and has plenty of contacts at Apple as a former board member.

A Google source told the Guardian that, based on several moves Apple has made regarding maps, the “company still wants its users to move on from Google – and forget about them” and that this “doesn’t bode well for the approval of an official Google Maps app.” The app is not ready  yet, but will be by the end of the year, according to the report.

Cited as evidence for the lack of optimism within Google is the assumption that Apple wants to “save face” and have customers “move on” from Google Maps completely. And also that in the iOS App Store section that recommends mapping apps, none of the suggested apps use Google data.

It’s certainly possible that Apple will not approve or drag out the approval of a Google Maps app. After all, Apple has not historically just agreed to distribute any Google-branded app. But it’s not very probable.

There’s a lot of attention being paid to how Apple handles the Google relationship, especially after ditching the YouTube and Google Maps apps that the two companies had partnered on for the past five years for iOS. Apple knows it will be under careful scrutiny and likely wants to avoid coming off as anti-competitive again. And anyway, Apple has recommended a maps app with Google data — Google Maps itself. In his apology to users, Cook recommended a variety of mapping apps to use, including “Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.”

Apple has approved plenty of Google apps for sale through the App Store, including very recently: a replacement YouTube app for iOS that Google created in September.

And perhaps most importantly, Google’s own chairman is very confident Google’s Maps app for iOS will be approved. Last month at an event in New York City, he noted that Apple and Google talk all the time. And if Google were to build a Maps app for iOS, he added, “I don’t want to preannounce products, but I can tell you that were we to do that, Apple would have to approve it.”

10 Responses to “Googlers worried about Apple approving Maps app probably shouldn’t be”

  1. apple will never suck it up and say sorry, we messed up and we will go back to google maps. So maybe they will just work harder to get the maps working the way it should be.

    but why they thought they could reinvent the wheel when they did this is beyond me.

  2. Andre Goulet

    It’s really quite simple. Apple won’t care if Google Maps comes back, via Google itself. This is all about turn-by-turn directions, which Google won’t give to Apple’s Maps app, so Apple has no choice but to move on. There simply need to integrate Siri and other Apple stuff into a mapping app, so this means they are on their own. What happens with other map apps is of no concern to them.

    Apple’s strategic mistake was in not buying Navigon or Garmin and integrating their already excellent products as their own. In the end, it will likely cost them more to “do their own thing.”

    • moosehead

      Oh this lie again: Google “won’t give” Apple turn by turn directions.

      You don’t think Apple could have negotiated their contract to have turn by turn from Google? Just out of nowhere Google says they can’t have that feature. I have never seen a single source that this was the case, just apple fans inventing a reason to justify the situation to themselves.

  3. Apple’s apology is hollow and means nothing.

    If Apple CEO Tim Cook was truly sorry for the disaster he caused by ditching Google Maps, he could have easily solved the problem by bringing back the app that was ditched. Why didn’t he do that?

    The only reason possible is that Apple wants Google to get out of iOS, and is prepared to lose face and hurt its own users to achieve that aim.

    Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s comments also don’t add much weight, because they were made a month ago when the mood was different, and he was probably just talking it up for the media.

    Apple is making some grave mistakes, such as this one and others, that will cause its iOS platform to suffer. It’s better to have the best services on your platform, even if they are from someone else, rather than causing damage to your platform by forcing a half-baked solution onto customers. Apple’s poor services will be its downfall.

  4. rabensam

    There’s virtually no chance Apple would completely reject the Google Maps app for iOS. No more than Apple ultimately rejected the Google Search, Google Drive, Google Voice, Google Play, or Gmail apps for iOS even though each one duplicates functionality built into iOS. Nor did Apple keep out the official YouTube app.

    People need to think. There’s no gain for Apple at all in keeping Google apps out of iOS: not only would it be grounds for an epic antitrust suit, but it would hand a competitor a crushing advantage if they could say “Google services, only on Android.” There’s no gain for Google in not being on iOS: those users represent millions of customers/eyeballs for advertising.

    That’s not to say there won’t be tense negotiations involved. Google may choose to withhold things for competitive advantage, Apple may demand Google remove features for the same reason. And during those negotiations — which we might assume are happening now — both companies will be jockeying for PR moves to strengthen their leverage. I’d bet a great deal Google has leaked this complete non-story to fire a warning shot across Apple’s bow.