In recent years, tech giants Apple (NAS: AAPL) and Google (NAS: GOOG) have had something of a falling out, you might say. Actually, one might even go as far as to call it a "thermonuclear war" if one was so inclined, despite some remaining partnerships between the two.

Of course, much of the tension can be embodied by Apple's decision to ditch Google Maps in iOS 6 in favor of its own in-house, heavily criticized service. The Verge reports that Apple's map contract with Google was still good for another year before it was up for renewal, so there wasn't really any time pressure on the decision for the Mac maker to become a map maker.

So why jump the gun when Apple Maps clearly wasn't ready for prime time?


On the turning away
According to All Things D, turning away from Google Maps was centered on one particular point of contention: turn-by-turn driving directions. The search giant had built this functionality directly into Android's maps years ago, which has been viewed as a distinct competitive advantage.

Up until now, iOS users were relegated to an overview list of directions that they needed to manually push a button to progress through, an obvious distraction while driving. Meanwhile, Android users could sit back, relax, and let their phone tell them when and where to turn.

Apple was reportedly very adamant that it wanted this feature and was still using Google's backend data for its first-party maps app. With mapping becoming a mainstay use case for smartphones, Apple pressured Big G into giving up the driving-direction data, which the search giant wasn't all too keen on, since it had spent years and lots of dollars building up its direction database.

The two tried to hammer out acceptable terms but continued to disagree over certain things like branding or the inclusion of Google Latitude, a friend location service that competes with Apple's Find My Friends app.

A momentary lapse of reason
It's at that point that things fell apart and Apple decided to launch the mapping service it had been building over the years, utilizing at least three different acquisitions of map-related technology companies. Obviously looking in hindsight, perhaps this was a rash decision considering the sheer amount of backlash that's been unleashed in Cupertino's general direction.

Although it's not as if Google benefited from being dropped, even though it's surely enjoying Apple's misfortune to an extent. After all, the net result was that it did suddenly lose 100 million mobile-device users in a matter of days, since Apple announced that many devices had been updated to iOS 6. Sure, iOS 6 users can still use Google Maps via a browser, but that's an extra step for a poor experience; most will stick with Apple's default.

Third-party data partners such as Yelp (NAS: YELP) and TomTom (NASDAQOTH: TMOAF.PK), among others, have certainly benefited by seeing their data directly integrated. Yelp had already been providing reviews through Apple's Siri assistant and now has expanded that role for business listings and reviews within its maps.

Learning to fly
Apple thought its mapping service was more fully baked than it turned out to be. I'm reminded of the famous iPhone 4 "Antennagate" debacle, a situation that was hard to avoid without extensive real-world testing outside labs (not including the engineer who lost a prototype at a bar). Or Siri, which is already the subject of a false-advertising class action lawsuit because of its underwhelming performance. Releasing Maps into the wild into the hands of millions of users all over the world was bound to uncover hidden corners of the globe that Apple's engineers overlooked.

Much like any of these past fiascos, the high-profile missteps are unlikely to have any measurable impact on sales. Tim Cook summed up the loyalty of Apple consumers this year at D10, recalling when he made the decision to join the company:

Apple was the only technology company that I knew of, including the one I was currently at, that when a customer got mad at a company, they'd continue to buy. If people got mad at Compaq, they'd buy Dell. If you were mad at Dell, you'd buy IBM. But an Apple customer was a unique breed; there's this emotion that you just don't see in technology in general.

Source: All Things D.

So while Apple takes off the training wheels and learns the hard way how to operate a mapping service, people will still keep buying iPhones.

The introduction of the iPhone 5 is an event Apple investors have been looking forward to for months. The stakes are high and the opportunity is huge, so to help investors understand this epic Apple event, we've just released an exclusive update dedicated to the iPhone 5 launch. By picking up a copy of our premium research report on Apple, you'll learn everything you need to know about the launch, and receive ongoing guidance as key news hits. Claim your copy today by clicking here now.

The article The Real Reason Apple Turned Away From Google Maps originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, IBM, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Google, creating a synthetic long position in IBM, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Small Cap Investing

Learn now to invest in small companies the right way.

View Course »

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

11 Comments

Filter by:
James Springle

Since we're on the Pink Floyd sub-meme, you forgot an important factor in the whole Apple/Google maps fiasco: Money. It's painfully clear that the biggest reason Apple switched to its own mapping app was to bring more in-house control over more of what iOS does so it isn't reliant on other providers (read:Google). More control equals more money.

"Money, it's a crime
Share it fairly
But don't take a slice of my pie"

September 29 2012 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Miley

My wife and I bought Apple 3 GS and then iPhone 4’s when they came out, after only one month my wife’s iPhone stopped working. I contacted Apple many many times and it took more than 6 weeks to finally have Apple to repair the phone free of charge even though it was under their so called warranty.
I was given very bad information by the Apple employees for the repair for the phone and the arrogance I received exceeded anything I have been submitted to by any other company in this world.
Have you ever tried to contact Apple via email? Virtually impossible as no Apple email address can be found on the net except media@apple.com
I contacted them with my story about the treatment I received and then I finally got some emails out of Apple.
If you want to really let Apple know how you feel about these injustices done by this arrogant company then contact these people:
Jayesh Kamath jayesh.k@apple.com Janine Beach jbeach@apple.com Frank Teo frank_teo@apple.com media.help@apple.com Shelley Reid sreid1@asia.apple.com media@apple.com

September 29 2012 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cy Genii

Watch the Apple Keynote when they present maps and you can clearly see that Scott Forstall wasn't happy at all.

September 29 2012 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Ahern

the author is obviously a fan of pink floyd....

September 29 2012 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chad Perkins

Silly Apple. Your Iphone/Pod/Pad will ultimately fail. You are just reliving the same thing that happened between the Macs and the PCs. Stop being so F***ing paranoid, stop building closed systems, and start selling the ability to make IOS devices to other companies. But I know you aren't smart enough to do any of these things.

September 29 2012 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bustin Jieber

"Releasing Maps into the wild into the hands of millions of users all over the world was bound to uncover hidden corners of the globe that Apple's engineers overlooked."

Obscure corners of the globe like the Golden Gate Bridge and SE Portland? Apple duped iOS 6 users into becoming beta testers for their obviously inferior and far from finished map app. They should at least compensate them for it.

September 29 2012 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Polk

Which one's Pink?

September 29 2012 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
seibcarm

I wanted to buy your year'S COVERAGE OF aPPLE'S PROGRESS BUT GOT CUT OFF IN THE MIDDLE. cAN I GET IT NOW?

September 29 2012 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gary

Nice to see a smart, pink floyd fan writing reviews !

September 29 2012 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Electrostatic

I don't suppose you are a big fan of Pink Floyd.

September 29 2012 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Electrostatic's comment
sethhvc

... and the general sat
and the lines on apple maps
moved from side to side....

September 29 2012 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply