Apple Had Over a Year Left On Google Maps Contract

Chris Ziegler, writing for The Verge:

“Apple’s decision to ship its own mapping system in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was made over a year before the company’s agreement to use Google Maps expired, according to two independent sources familiar with the matter.”

Classic case of tearing off the band-aid.

Apple’s millions of customers have provided valuable feedback to Google mapping engineers for years, immeasurably improving Google’s map product. The company faced a decision: when to jump from a mature, much-loved app that benefited its competitor to a young, flawed product in need of customer feedback, which also breaks their reliance on a competitor. They chose now.

Today the Apple map app is a source of derision, but a year from now no-one will care. Apple’s map app will have benefited from use. In the mean time we’ll see a steady stream of aging, not-as-funny-for-the-repeated-telling stories about vertical highways and half-constructed stadiums.

Google is reportedly moving to build an iOS map app of their own. No surprise there. With 100,000,000 devices already upgraded to iOS6 and Apple’s own map app, Google has suddenly experienced a marked decline in mobile use of their mapping product. They need an iOS app in the hands of iPhone users yesterday. As of September 19, really.