Google Maps for iOS 6 Is Apple's Call: Schmidt

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2012-09-25
 
 
 

The map lines were drawn between Google and Apple once Apple removed Google Maps from its latest iOS 6 software back in May in favor of Apple's own Maps app. Now the question is, will Apple let its rival offer a stand-alone, built-for-iOS 6 Google Maps app in Apple's App Store? 

That will only happen if Apple approves such a move, said Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, in a Sept. 24 report by Bloomberg News.

"We haven't done anything yet with Google Maps," Schmidt said in a meeting with reporters in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg. "Apple would 'have to approve it. It's their choice,'" he said, declining to comment on whether Google has yet even submitted an application to Apple to distribute a Google maps for iOS 6 app  in the App Store.

In a story in The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt said the talks are continuing between Apple and Google over the fate of the Google Maps app in the App Store and other issues. "We've not done anything yet," said Schmidt, according to The Journal. "We've been in touch with them for a long time [about Google Maps], and we talk to them every day."

Schmidt "declined to explain the nature of talks between Apple and Google, describing Apple as a 'huge Internet search partner,'" The Journal reported. "In my opinion it would have been better to retain our maps," he said. "It's their decision. I'll let them describe it."

The potential app offering has big implications for Google and for Apple, particularly since Apple's new Apple maps app that is integrated into the newly released iOS 6 is being widely criticized for being inaccurate and a far cry from the mapping services that were previously available on Apple devices using Google Maps.

After Apple's new iOS 6 operating system became available for download Sept. 19, many users around the world began taking to the Internet to loudly vent their frustrations about the loss of Google Maps in the company's new mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The new Apple Maps app has been panned, based on dozens of posts on Twitter and other social media sites.

Among the loudest complaints are incorrect maps, a lack of points of interest being displayed and a total lack of transit directions for mass transit systems in large cities, which Apple says it will be adding later.

A story on BusinessInsider.com warned iOS users not to upgrade to iOS6 if they use subways often, because Apple Maps don't yet include subway route services that were available with Google maps. "Apple is relying on third-party developers to build the transit directions/schedules for maps," the story reported.  "If you rely on public transit, you should hold off on upgrading to iOS 6 until developers have built transit apps for Apple maps."

The Guardian in London reported that users were experiencing a wide range of Apple maps glitches, including that the Paddington [railway] station had vanished, London had been relocated to Ontario, the Sears Tower in Chicago had shrunk, and the Helsinki railway station had been turned into a park." In the Chicago incident, the Apple Map of the Sears Tower, a huge city landmark, points to a much smaller building that is obviously not the Sears Tower. And since 2009, the building has been called "Willis Tower," which also isn't noted in the Apple map.

In Dublin, Ireland, an airport that doesn't exist somehow made its way into Apple Maps, according to The Guardian, prompting officials there to inform Apple of the error.

Apple's removal of Google Maps, which had been built in to iOS since the debut of the iPhone in 2007, in favor of Apple's own Maps application was announced in May. Apple and Google say publicly that the move was simply because a five-year licensing deal has expired, but industry pundits point to a more competitive battle for market share for both companies, which means there will be fewer areas where they will collaborate.

The Apple-Google brouhaha over Google Maps isn't the only place where the two have been parting ways this year. Apple also announced in August that it was removing the YouTube player from iOS 6, which like Google Maps had been part of the operating system since the launch of the iPhone in 2007.

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