“The head-to-head battle between Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in mobile maps is drawing nearer,” Amir Efrati and Jessica E. Lessin report for The Wall Street Journal. “Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. oogle has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it’s unclear exactly when that will happen.”

Efrati and Lessin report, “In mid-September, Apple released its latest iPhone and iPad software called iOS 6 that automatically replaced a Google Maps app that was preinstalled on its mobile devices with Apple’s own mapping software. Apple also removed Google’s YouTube video app, which similarly had been preinstalled on all of the devices. Both preinstalled Google apps had been built by Apple with Google data. An Apple spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on apps that haven’t been submitted for approval. Apple has recently approved some new or updated Google apps.”

“But Apple’s move to boot Google Maps backfired, as numerous consumers complained Apple’s version was riddled with inaccurate data. The controversy prompted a public apology from Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. IPhone software chief Scott Forstall refused to apologize publicly for the embarrassment,” Efrati and Lessin report. “The incident exacerbated longstanding tension between him and other Apple managers, contributing to Mr. Cook’s decision to push him out of the company last month.”

“Apple has continued to work to fix the bugs in its mapping software. The maps team is now under senior vice president for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, who also oversees products like iTunes and iCloud,” Efrati and Lessin report. “Mr. Cue has been hands-on with the maps team and participates in regular meetings to fix the product, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

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