The Real Reason Apple Dropped Google’s Maps? Android.

The Real Reason Apple Dropped Google’s Maps? Android.

Reports have surfaced suggesting that Apple wasn’t happy over Google’s Android advantage.

Apple’s much-maligned Maps app has been widely criticized over the past couple of weeks, and it’s left many iOS fans asking why Apple and Google went their separate ways in the first place.

This week, reports surfaced that the reason behind the split came down to bad feelings over one issue: Android.

Google’s Android platform is Apple’s main competitor and is the most widely used mobile platform. Since its first commercial release in 2008, it has overtaken Apple to be the leading smartphone operating system.

Apple and a number of Android-based smartphone manufacturers have been battling it out legally over copyright issues. Samsung, Android’s biggest developer was recently ordered to pay the tech giant $1 billion after Apple successfully sued them through the American courts.

Given the fact a significant conflict of interest already marred Google and Apple’s partnership, it’s no surprise that Apple reacted strongly when Google provided Android Maps users with additional features that it wouldn’t give Apple Maps users.

Although a number of issues had apparently cooled relations between the two companies, the deal breaker came in the form of voice-guided directions. Android users can access voice-guided directions using Google’s Android Maps app, but the iOS version of the app has never had that feature. A seemingly small feature, it appears Apple felt it could influence smartphone users’ choice of operating system, and weren’t happy to let the difference go.

According to online tech magazine AllThingsD, Apple didn’t want Android to have an advantage over them in this area. Equally, and for obvious reasons, Google weren’t willing to hand over the feature, in which the company said it had invested ‘massive sums’ to a competitor.

Sources came forward to speak to All Things D, explaining that the two companies were involved in talks, however these reached a stalemate

‘Google, for example, wanted more say in the iOS maps feature set. It wasn’t happy simply providing back-end data. It asked for in-app branding. Apple declined. It suggested adding Google Latitude. Again, Apple declined. And these became major points of contention between the two companies, whose relationship was already deteriorating for a variety of other reasons, including Apple’s concern that Google was gathering too much user data from the app.’

Another source: ‘There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest. Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker.’

As a result, Apple rushed forward the development of its Maps app and, well, we know the rest of that story. Instead of sticking with an important app that admittedly put them at a competitive disadvantage, they decided to go it alone and released a version of the app that garnered them mass criticism and waves of negative publicity. They also omitted the pre-loaded YouTube app from iOS 6, which led Google to release a prettier and more user-friendly version as a stand-alone app.

A source familiar with Apple’s strategy told AllThingsD: “Apple knew it had a lot of catching up to do in maps. But, given what’s happened the past few days, I think they felt they were farther along than they actually are.”

Google have been mostly silent over the Maps debacle, simply saying: ‘We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.’

A stand-alone Google Maps app is expected to be released through the App Store at some point over the next few months – unless Apple throws another hissy fit, that is.

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