Apple pulls one over on Google

I received the following email from The Loop reader Keith Huss1:

Situation: Apple cannot get Google to update its maps app on iOS. It was ok, but Google refused to update it to include turn-by-turn directions or voice guidance even though Android had these features forever. Apple says, “Enough” and boots Gmaps from iOS and replaces it with an admittedly half-baked replacement. The world groans. Apple has egg on its face. Google steps up it’s game and rolls out a new, free new maps app in iOS today that is totally amazing, I’m sure to stick it in Apple’s face… Ooops

Bottom line: Apple took one for the team (ate some shit) and fooled Google into doing exactly what Apple has been asking for years. Users win.

  1. Printed with Keith’s permission. 

  • Shep

    I was under the impression that Google would add vectors and turn by turn to the native app, but only with more prominent branding and access to user data.

    • Apple doesn’t give anyone access to user data. I think this was BS from Google, they didn’t want Apple to have this so they asked for stuff they knew Apple would say no to. Also, I think Google wanted to put ads in as well.

  • mvcmendes

    Completely agree. Saw people pissed today over the ‘thank Apple for today’s Gmaps’ line of thought, but it’s the truth. Machiavelli would be so proud. heh

  • That’s the biggest Apple-fanboy-piece-of-crap-logic EVER.

    • dabe2

      I dunno, I started on Android, and switched to iPhone not bothering to check if they had turn by turn nav (just assumed they did).

      I’m very happy with the iPhone, but I was 100% ready to switch to Android for my next phone because of the maps issue. It looks like I might stick with Apple now.

      I don’t know if this was intentional on Apple’s part though.

    • He’s not saying Apple engineered this, he’s saying the USERS got the best in the end. At least, that’s how I take it. And I think that’s how you tell a fanboy from a real user: we don’t care who does it.

    • Boo

      The second a person starts throwing around the term fanboy, they mark themselves as a fanboy of another product. We all have our preferences, there is no reason to disparage each other for having different tastes or needs.

      This “my device/platform of choice” equals my personal identity nonsense got old in the 90s. We should all let it go.

      • Mykbibby

        This comment is a piece of brilliance

  • Seriously? You all seriously think Apple spent all that time and money to build a global mapping system from scratch just to play a little trick on ol’ Google? I agree with the last sentence, but the rest of this assertion makes pretty much zero sense.

    • Alex

      The point is, Google is the dummy here b/c they kept refusing the features and in the end spent their own time and money to develop them for iOS. That said, Google DOES get location tracking now (with user permission, though).

    • Apple built maps to gain control of a crucial part of their infrastructure. The effect is Apple now has vastly better mapping, arguably three times over. Now you can choose Apple, Google, or Nokia maps all of which are better than the previous mediocre app Apple was able to provide using the API.

    • dmx

      both Apple and Goole learn a lesson here. Apple needs to control critical components (software and hardware) and need to step up its game on big data/cloud/service; Google needs iOS no matter what its chairman declared that Android is winning/has won the smartphone war.

    • def4

      What global mapping system is that? Apple lincenses ALL of the map data they use.

      • I don’t think anybody has global mapping data. It’s all bits and pieces.

      • They’re licensing the raw data, but obviously they’re applying their own filtering/routing logic or they wouldn’t be in this mess.

        • def4

          Of course they do, but the scale of the operation needed to achieve that is not comparable to what Google or Nokia/Navteq have.

  • The problem with this argument however is that google has made a very very nice app. They have out designed Apple, which has always been Apple’s edge. The Google maps app is both more useful and better designed than Apple’s entry. Certainly this won’t be enough to make people consider Android over Apple, but don’t think for a second that users will be blind to the differences.

    • Jay Martin

      Out designed? Not a chance.

      Out maneuvered? Likely – their data is much better and in the end THEY got what they wanted (access to user location information).

      • youclay

        Before the switch, Google had access to 100% of iPhone users. Now it doesn’t. The trade-off of course is that Google gets to collect more data on the users that do choose Google Maps.

    • youclay

      The App-maker Google made a good Map app that went through all the same evaluation as others, e.g. Angry Birds. Mapquest is pretty good too. As iPhone consumers, I think we got what we want, a choice in Maps. In the end, it’s another reason to stay with the iPhone.

  • This is a pretty big leap in logic. It’s a win for users but it’s not a clear slam-dunk for Apple. Having a serious competitor to shows just how lacking it is and how iOS doesn’t permit you to replace the default apps that ship with it.

  • Dollop

    Wasn’t it an Apple written app accessing Google’s APIs ?

    • Joey

      Which one? The one they released when Google refused to update their app?

    • Yes, but Google refused to allow Apple the right to use some aspects of their APIs, such as turn-by-turn, voice guidance, etc. As long as Apple used Google’s APIs, the maps app would be terrible.

      • As usual, only part of the truth. Google was willing to allow Apple to use these features so long as Apple provided them with more user data from the Maps app. Apple wasn’t willing to give its biggest competitor even more data from their users. So there was an impasse that could not be resolved – Apple was unwilling to concede more user data to Google and Google was unwilling to provide more features to Apple without more user data. Neither of them would budge so Apple chose its own path without Google.

        • kibbles

          while likely, i dont think any of us will ever know “the truth”. we just read what is published. dont mistake that for truth.

        • Steven Fisher

          While true, you’ve missed an important nuance: As part of the default application set on the phone, Apple could not budge on privacy issues. Doing so would not only be selling out their users, but inviting scrutiny from watchdog agencies… and ultimately, I think a DOJ investigation and charges were all but assured.

          In other words, this was not a case where Apple could have given in. It was simply not possible.

  • Nice move google but T-by-T haven’t worked in Germany for a long time. I will still use my Way better and offline!

  • What a bogus assertion.

  • Vicky


    You really believe this.. HAHAHAHA…..

  • Sam Kennedy

    I’m not sure I agree that Google out designed Apple. I agree it is much better than the previous Apple designed Maps app but I think the newly redesigned Apple Maps app (ver4 2?) is better. Just little touches like the green street signs. Still the localization and street view data makes the Google Maps app more useful. But I do prefer to look and feel of the Apple version.

  • adrianoconnor

    That is such bullshit. Nobody fooled Google into doing anything, nor did Apple ‘take one for the team’. What does that even mean in this context?

    Apple wouldn’t let Google integrate Google services (like your Google login) in the iOS maps app. Google wouldn’t update the app without that feature. They went their own ways. Everyone wins, but especailly Google because they look like the good guys here, and have clearly demonstrated that they have the best data.

    • There are more than enough examples out there that demonstrate for every iOS maps app issue there is at least one in googles data. Maybe not in your neck of the woods but there are more places in the world than Yourtown USA.

      • adrianoconnor

        Even if what you say is true, the quoted post up their is still bullshit. Just telling it like it is. Apple didn’t ‘trick’ Google is what I’m saying.

        However… as it happens, I don’t live in Anytown USA, I live in the UK, and it just so happens that Apple maps are pretty awful over here too (though getting better all the time). Anyway, I’ll be switching back to Google maps for the time being.

  • Yeah, this logic is pretty faulty. Apple developed the Maps app using Google Maps data. They are systematically cutting their reliance on Google on a number of fronts: Maps, YouTube, etc.

    BUT, where before Apple was paying Google to license the maps data, now they aren’t. But Google Maps is now back on iOS and Apple isn’t paying Google a dime for it. And, it’s a free map for users. So, it’s a win for consumers and for Apple, but not Google.

    I don’t understand it myself… they should be promoting their mapping services on Android as a differentiator with iOS. Now what? Is the revenue they make from in-map business data (reviews, etc.) really that compelling?

    • Meaux

      I’m pretty certain, between their mapping company acquisitions and the staff needed to manage a mapping application, that Apple spent a lot more money off their base than Google will have to. Google just needed to build an app development team for the app, Apple had to build an entire mapping division.

      • Of course. I didn’t imply they had no expense in divorcing from Google. Just noting that Google isn’t profiting from the Maps app that comes with preinstalled on iOS now.

  • a more rational and accurate conclusion is that Apple showed the world that they need Google.

  • ModestMuse

    Jim… I’m sorry to say, but you have no clue what you’re talking about…

  • LMAO, your ability to spin is sickening at the level of a Fox News Anchor. You can’t even admit when Apple fucks up yet they publicly apologize for it and Forstall is ousted. But that was their plan right?! Truly, unbelievable….

    • When did he say it was their plan?

      • TheLionKingg

        “Apple took one for the team (ate some shit) and fooled Google” implying that it was their plan all along to trick Google into making a maps app.

      • +1 What @TheLionKingg:disqus said.

  • false. in reality, apple showed the world that it needs google.

    • Jay Martin

      Another opposite: Google proved they need Apple (or, more precisely, Apple’s customers) otherwise they wouldn’t have built their own iOS app.

      Regardless of the initial media hype, Apple’s maps seem to be working fine for a large majority of users, thus proving that Apple in fact doesn’t need Google.

  • Another way to look at at: Google pulled one over on Apple.

    Apple wanted Google to do things on their terms. Google refused so Apple decided to cut their ties and build their own app.

    Google knew that even if Apple cut them loose to build their own app, they couldn’t compete with them on mapping data.

    So they let Apple have their way and build an app that was destined to be a disappointment. With enough people resenting Apple for the change in their maps app, Google swooped in with their own app and will come out looking like the good guys – to most people, anyway.

    The thing is, only die-hard Apple fans will see this the way Keith describes it. Everyone else will likely see Google as saving the day.

    • deviladv

      Darcy has it nailed. Follow the money. Google gets what it wants, direct access to users to get their personal data. Apple gets egg on it’s face and loses a little bit of shine and not the best experience. Users still win.

      • Yes, follow the money. Apple has three times the cash that Google does.

        • deviladv

          Yes that’s true and has nothing to do with the debate. Apple lost a little cash and Google gained a little thanks to this.

          • I agree money has nothing to do with it. You brought it up.

          • deviladv

            You’re a troll or you don’t understand the concept of following the money.

          • Nope, not trolling. Thanks for the mature name calling though. Nice! I just think Google is screwing itself over with all of this Apple competition. I think a better strategy was to partner with Apple. I don’t think the Android plan is working the way they thought it would, & now they’re trying to stay relevant on iOS because they realize people are willing to stick with Apple and drop Google instead of the other way around. Also, I don’t like Googles stand alone software. It just doesn’t feel as well thought out or as well written as Apples. I mean come on Google, just copy Apples Google Maps app, why make one with confusing implimentations of features that people were already used to in the old app?

          • deviladv

            Nope not name calling, I just couldn’t understand how you didn’t understand “follow the money” so I thought you might be a troll, seriously.

            And your comments completely miss the point so it’s clear to me that you don’t understand “follow the money.” Apple lost one battle in a long series of battles here, and loses some money and reputation while Google comes out ahead in one battle. Just because Apple right now has a huge pile of cash doesn’t mean they never possibly screw up one battle. Apple will be fine, but all one ever does is believe Apple wins every battle they get labelled a fanboi.

          • I guess I’m just doing a poor job of explaining my point. Google saw that mobile was HUGE for the future so they wanted to make sure they weren’t at Apples mercy. So they set out to give away Android so that Apple wouldn’t have a +90% market share of mobile with iOS. Now, they seem conflicted about what to do, Apple has lost market share to them, but Google isn’t making the money from Android they thought they would, Apple isn’t losing customers, and they are concerned that they will still be at Apples mercy since Google is still making a lot of money from iOS. That’s what I meant by follow the money, from users to Apple & from iOS to Google, but not much from Android to Google.

          • hankdu

            Google’s map is now the top free app on the app store within few hours of its release along with other Google branded apps. I don’t think Google has screwed itself over, especially on the map front. You are deluded to think Google will be willing to partner with Apple given all the restrictions that they impose on other companies’ app, especially maps.

            If you don’t like Google’s map then thats your personal opinion, but judging from the responses all over the internet, Google map is more than relevant to many iOS users. It is because of people like you I now think Apple is backed by mindless fanboys.

          • I’m not delusional, Google already partnered with Apple. I also didn’t say that no one would use Google Maps. I don’t care what people use.

          • Dan Sherwood

            Google knew giving away android would never make them profit. Android is part of the Open Handset Alliance.

          • LOL

  • someone’s doing a really good job deleting comments on this post. 😛

  • youclay


  • Apple’s is hardly “half-baked.” For most people it works just fine. Have there been some errors? Of course, mapping the entire freakin’ world can leave you with some problems. Try copying War and Peace without making typos and see how well YOU do.

    But the fact it there are lots of problems with Google’s maps. They led me on wild goose chases far too often. I haven’t had any problem with Apple’s mapping app.

    Of course, the pundits who never even use any mapping app are quick to complain about an image in Paris, where they’ve never been and will never go.

    • Tvaddic

      But it is a big deal to take a working product, replace it and tout your new product as better when it isn’t.

  • Keith Huss

    WOW – such anger. It was tongue in cheek. Obviously Apple didn’t plan this the way I spelled it out. Guess you can call me a troll for pitching it that way, but seriously, some of you need to up the dosage on your medication…

  • Joe Casabona

    So Apple risked a brand that they spend years building up, hours and hours of man power, money building out their own app, and sacrificed the career of the exec they first just to pull one over on Google?

    • Joe Casabona


    • Frank

      Fired the exec. – Maybe

      Or maybe Apple used the situation to covertly send him to the skunkworks to secretly head up R&D with the reported billions Apple is spending on stuff nobody knows anything about.

  • Jay Martin

    Situation: Google wouldn’t give in to Apple’s demand for turn-by-turn navigation without access to location data. So they let Apple do their own thing betting that the lack of map data would make the product weak. They let the outrage (and attention) run its course to get as much mileage out of it as they could, then they released their own Maps app for iOS which will again them attention AGAIN.

    Bottom line: seems like Google is actually the one who outmaneuvered Apple here. The presumption that Apple spent all that money buying those other mapping companies (well before this was an issue) just to fool Google is preposterous. Google, on the other hand, wan’t getting any data (the real value) from Apple by supplying map data so they had very little to lose.

    • youclay

      And as a result, people will still buy iPhones. Who profits from this? Who wins? It seems like both win, but now Google must compete with other map makers like any other app developer.

      • Jay Martin

        Oh, I totally agree. I was merely pointing out that you could make the counter-argument to the story very easily.

        • youclay

          The title of the article is of course conducive to stirring a response …

  • Boo

    Apple doesn’t have to put any resources into developing the Google Maps client like they did before. Heck, even Google profits from this as they can build an app they want rather than being limited to what Apple makes with their API. Funny how thing work out. We win, Apple wins and even Google wins. You don’t see things working out like that very often in the industry, especially when there is such drama surrounding the issue.

  • Not to mention ruining Samsung’s marketing campaign of smearing Apple’s Maps app to promote their Android navigation, when now the Google Maps iOS app is admittedly better than Google’s own Android maps app. The timing couldn’t be better.

  • rj

    Looks like the Loop made its click quota for the day.

    Way to take a page from the Enderle playbook.

  • chris

    Apple had good reasons for ditching Google and Google has good reasons for being on iOS. I like the UI of Apple’s maps better, but I don’t get turn-by-turn or Siri activation on my iPhone 4 – so I’ll be happy to use Google’s Maps and Voice Search (which for some reason only works every other time I try) since Apple doesn’t enable similar functionality on my older model iPhone… although I think I’ve already settled on MapQuest and Waze as my go to navigation apps… the other map apps are for finding whats nearby.

  • TheLionKingg

    You should forward this article to Scott Forstall… because, you know, he was fired after the Apple Maps fiasco. Perhaps someone neglected to tell him about Apple’s diabolical plan?

    While this would make a great Tom & Jerry episode, I don’t think this is the case. Things just worked out in the end for the user, but not on Apple’s terms.

  • Mark

    Sorry, Keith Huss, but you got your facts a bit mixed up. First of all, the pre-iOS 6 version of Maps was APPLE’S app, not Google’s. Apple simply licensed the use of Google’s data. Second, it has already been revealed that Google was perfectly willing to allow Apple to continue to use Google’s maps data, including turn-by-turn, but Google wanted something in return. Namely, control over the user data as a result of using Goggle’s data. THAT was Apple’s objection. Apple wanted to continue to control the user data.

    While Goggle’s new Maps app is a welcome development, it still lacks an ‘Apple like’ user interface. Google’s Maps app isn’t anywhere as intuitive to use as the Maps apps that Apple has released. Further, the Google Maps app doesn’t give you direct access to the addresses in your contacts list. Nor does it become the app that is automatically launched if you touch an address in Safari.

    No, we are NOT where we should be yet. What iOS users need and deserve is an Apple-developed Maps app that uses Google’s data. A Maps app that is an Apple/Google partnership.

    You know, like we had from 2007 until 2012!

  • jacob

    this is daft dreck

  • Barkg

    Google was also precluded from showing promoted venues in the pre-ios 6 version of the app. Now they can do that. It’s a win for Google, and sure, it’s a win for users. That revenue is big. Apple was gunning for that, as well as control of user location data — they lose big here.

  • WrlsFanatic

    I have news for you: Google will put ads in that very soon, and they’ll make a boatload of cash from it, something Apple would not have been prepared to let them do. Google wins in the end.

    • stefn

      No. In the end, iOS users will have a first class Apple map app to choose, rather than Google’s ad littered one. That’s why Google won’t litter it. Choosers win. It’s android users who would have to put up with ads, cus’ Google does the choosing.

    • Frank

      The ads are already there. You may not notice them because they are not in the form of banners and popups as one would normally expect, but they are definitely there.

      Google is an advertising company and advertising is the only reason Google developed a maps app for iOS.

  • PlumbSearcher

    Yes, take all their previous history. Apple does not care much about “services”, they care about selling their phones and tablets. To sell them well they need to make them valuable. they are valuable if there are a lot of good apps for them. Apple released their Maps. Good maps. But not the best. Nokia immediately rushed to released apps for iOS. Google rushed to releases Maps for iOS. Google Maps for iOS are better maps than Google maps for Android. There are three mapping solution for iOs and only one mapping solution for Android. iOS is more attractive, people will by more iPhones. Users won, Apple won.

  • I don’t think the Apple Maps executive who got fired over this is that smart.

  • G

    He’s forgetting the driving factor, money. As has been stated in many articles, the disagreements were over revenue sharing. Google refused to allow Apple (who made the old app, not Google) to do turn by turn and other features unless Google was able to monetize the app. If Apple had simply wanted Google to make the App they just released, they would have let them, with Google’s monetization, and without the inconvenience to users. Instead Apple was filled with hubris and through they could truly do a better job.

    • stefn

      If the question really was who gets the data and bucks off the native map app, and who gets turn by turn, maybe two map apps were inevitable. I don’t see the hubris. Or I can see it on both sides. What I do know, to the great benefit of iOS users, is that Apple and Google will compete on quality from now on. Google’s new map suggests they see it that way; it’s better than Android users have. And probably will be better from now on. After all, Android users are Google’s captive audience. So from my perspective, it’s iOS 2, Android 0. Don’t confuse Android with Google; Google doesn’t. It just wants to sell ads everywhere.

  • stefn

    I don’t think Apple fooled Google. It merely won the right to compete with Google on its own devices. I love the fact that iOS users now have two competing map apps on the platform. But it’s a gigantic cost to Apple that will have to continue if it wants to keep getting Google’s best efforts. (It’s rumored Apple might buy TomTom.) So I’m hoping for great iOS maps; even Android users will benefit from this competition eventually.

  • The biggest thing he forgets, and you didn’t note in your “I choose Apple Maps” post, is Apple wouldn’t give Google Latitude so both wanted something.

    By his measure, Google fooled Apple into taking a major hit then stepping in and stealing the spotlight.

  • Would have been cheaper to just fix the dang thing themselves.

  • cody


  • hankdu

    It seems to me the difference here is that Google fans don’t brag about how Google maps saved Apple. Only the reverse happens.

  • deeznutz

    That must be one of the stupidest fanboy conspiracy theories to date…..

  • Master Bruce


  • Frank

    Didn’t Google originally say it wasn’t going to make a Maps app for iOS?

    I guess Google realized their anti-Apple maps campaign wasn’t going to give Android enough advantage to make up for the lost iOS revenue. Despite all the frantic efforts deployed by Google and its supporters, demand for the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 devices hasn’t wavered.

    The bottom line is that since Google was unable to work out an agreement with Apple on the maps situation it had lost access to iOS users, without doubt the most lucrative segment of mobile device users.

    Let’s face it, Google is first and foremost an advertising company. That’s how they make their money. No longer having access to Apple’s customers, it could no longer suggest the business location of the highest nearby bidder if someone searched for “Italian Restaurant Nearby” using their location data.

    If an advertiser has no access to top tier potential customers, they can’t turn around and sell that access to advertisers.

    And that, is the only reason Google submitted a maps app for iOS. If Google had thought it was winning the battle and that it had no use for Apple there is no way they would have removed the psychological barrier they spent so much time and effort creating to hinder Apple iOS 6 device sales. Someone who was undecided whether to buy an iPhone 5 because of the maps situation suddenly has no reason to refrain.

  • The entire article is flawed in that first sentence.

  • Funceval