Why Google needs Apple’s iOS more than iOS needs Google Maps

“Today, we know that the iOS version of Google Maps has been inferior to its Android sibling for sometime, turn-by-turn directions being the most obvious example,” Kontra writes for counternotions. “Clearly, Google and Apple have far better ability to integrate apps into their own respective mobile ecosystems, but we don’t really know the contractual, commercial and even technical considerations for the disparity in this particular case.”

“After outsmarting and outspending its then-chief rival MapQuest, Google has been dominating mobile maps on phones for half a decade. From a corporate rivalry standpoint, Google is in an enviable position at the moment, certainly amused by the current kerfuffle around the iOS 6 Maps app,” Kontra writes. “However, it would be monumentally myopic of Google management to “decide not to build an [iOS native map] app” or to think Apple Maps’s lack of polish will cause any meaningful migration of iOS users to Android or that Apple management would let that happen.”

Kontra writes, “Samsung may have become the biggest smartphone seller by volume, but I’m sure even Andy Rubin realizes Samsung doesn’t have 400+ million users (each with a credit card account) who have proven themselves to be the world’s most lucrative online demographics. These users have invested billions in Apple’s media and app ecosystem. They are the happiest bunch whenever product satisfaction surveys are taken. They upgrade regularly. They are loyal. They frequent Apple Stores with alarming regularity. They wait in line, rain or shine. They are not going anywhere.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier today:

This is all Google’s loss: iOS users are the ones with money to spend and the will to spend it; you’ll have no access to hundreds of millions of the world’s cream-of-the-crop consumers… That’s right, the world’s best, most well-heeled mobile consumers do not use Google Maps. Meanwhile, Apple’s Maps will relentlessly continue to improve… Let Google’s rueing continue unabated.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Synth” for the heads up.]


  1. Apple are taking a risk for good reasons. Thats a calculated risk. Google need to be on all phones if they are going to continue growing. If I was Google, I would get that App in the App Store asap.
    One year from now, Apple could be the Map Kings, and Google could see their star fade.
    This the first REAL challenge to Google – and Apple haven’t lost a battle like this since Steve Jobs came back.

      1. Well he did say a “battle like this.” Ping wasn’t in the same category. This maps thing is the major leagues. There are a lot of small private mapping companies. I look for Apple and Google to start fighting over them. It’s not going to be pretty and unlike ping, nobody’s going to go quietly.

        What I don’t get is why Microsoft is not rushing out an IOS mapping app. Maybe they’re working on it, but they could really get a foot in the door with Bing maps.

  2. I agree with this article. In the country where I live. Those who own an apple product are from the top echelon of society. The A & B class. Those who have the means. Don’t care much about maps too.

  3. Google is fighting on all fronts. With Apple and MS basically burying the hatchet and calling detente, Google has to take them both on at the same time. With one of their major OEM suppliers announcing that they are putting WP8 on their flagship phones and the Nexus maker loading up a home grown browser and OS, they have very few allies left.

  4. Apple is very good in taking things, services or products, turn technology around and make them the most successfully and profitable service or product in the world and that twist became a standard.
    So if google can count on something, that is that apple will displace them in the map business very soon.

  5. “iOS users are the ones with money to spend and the will to spend it”? What study or survay did that claim come from? I’m only curious!

    It sounds like MDN is claiming that android users in general are poor and are not willing to spend….which is not necessarily true.

      1. Yes, it is true that iOS apps sell far better than Android apps. But is the statement “iOS users are the ones with the money to spend” valid?

        So, I have a friend who uses android. With that statement above, can I say he uses android because he does not have the money to spend on apps, as implied by the earlier claim? It could just be that he prefers Android’s deep customization over iOS’s simplicity, could it not?

        1. Majority are at least on what I see around me. The people I see using androids are the Samoans, Micronesians, and those people wait t the bus stops.in short, the ones who uses EBT.

          At my work for example, 90% who opted for an android device are actually under EBT. I’m not lying here. Just stating what I’m seeing.

        2. These statements are meant to be general. No one analysis can be made on every individual in an entire genre of people. However, for the most part (and in this case, woth android users) we can say that most people in this group make their decision based mainly on costs (purchasing an android phone because most are less expensive and also not spending very much money on apps). This tells me that iPhone owners, in general, have more disposable income then android users.

        3. I actually don’t believe it is valid and hate when it’s brought up. What is more true to reality, would be, “iOS users are the ones WILLING to spend money.” Which says a lot about the value iOS users place in the platform versus Android users, who usually are just replacing a feature phone and don’t have much interest in mobile platforms per se.

  6. Google needs “A Map of All Our Failures”… Google Chrome OS, Orkut, Wave, Buzz, Google X, Google Answers, Audio Ads, Jaiku, Google Notebook, f*cked Apple. A eternal Beta.

  7. Great article. Google stands to lose so much. Eric Schmidt, by making fun of Apple Maps and taunting Apple saying self-serving disingenuous crap (instead of being classy about it), probably only makes Tim Cook grit his teeth and strengthen his resolve to thermonuclearize Google. It’s going to hurt Eric, it’s REALLY going to hurt. And we are going to love every painful moment of it.

  8. Turn-by-turn has been on Android forever – hell, 4G has been on Android forever – and the 4S still outsold all other Android phones combined on Verizon. So temporary shortcomings on a superior mapping platform are going to get users to jump ship when all of these other “advantages” have failed to do so? Kiss that map-based revenue goodbye, Google. Apple – and the vast majority of Apple users – have moved on.

  9. I, for one, am going to change my default search engine from google to bing. I have been using google, since before they were google, and I just can’t support them anymore. Their hunger to do everything for everyone, it’s all about harvesting our information for their adds. They have become to big for their britches. And that, “don’t be evil” crap, give me a break.

    I will miss chrome, but I am willing to go back to Firefox.

    Time to move on.

      1. Check out “Axis” iPhone only App from yahoo!. Amazing. Search & Browser integrated into one slick app. Choke on that Gaagle. IF yahoo!, under its new leadership can remain loyal to Apple it will be truely a world of hurt for Gaagle and it’s unethical leadership. Apple should either acquire yahoo! Or make DAM SURE they dont make the same COLOSSAL mistake with yahoo! like they did with Gaagle.

  10. I don’t know what’s the big fuss. The apple maps work well for me. No issues. I like that they are less cluttered without the property lines. Google has street view which I miss very much but when you have to look a little further down, I tap the hire arrow and it takes me up a little bit at a time, with apple flyover I just move it up a little and it gives me a 3 dimensional look of the building. Much better view than street view on google. I did notice that google maps street view is extended into Mexico which I go to often, apple maps does not have that in atleast a lot of the places I go to. That I wish apple maps would add eventually. The 3d view is slow but hopefully once it’s improved it will be very smooth and will be better than google maps. At least for me.

  11. These users have invested billions in Apple’s media and app ecosystem. (True) They are the happiest bunch whenever product satisfaction surveys are taken. (Not always) They upgrade regularly. (More than most) They are loyal. (Somewhat) They frequent Apple Stores with alarming regularity. (Not those with significant others or full time employment) They wait in line, rain or shine. (Not since SW went largely download) They are not going anywhere. (If we need to)

    Everybody tries to characterize Apple customers as blind follower fanbois that gladly lap up anything Apple releases. For some that may be true, but not for most. Many switched to the Mac as significant cost after tiring of tedious Windows babysitting. More came when the revolutionary iPhone came along with a whole new business model to boot.

    If Apple effs up hard enough and long enough they will find themselves no longer the hot hand and no longer with anywhere as many customers. Truth be told many use iPhone, iPad and Mac because there is no better alternative. None.

  12. Google maps sucked also when they first debuted. Apple maps only need some time to grow and mature. Compare apple maps now to what Google maps was when it first came out and we’ll see that Apple actually did a fairly decent job for just now truly getting into maps. I guess a 50% improvement within six months. I guess 100% improvement over the next 12 months. Keep two things in mind: Apple maps need only satisfy iOS users. Not only does Apple have the intent and money to hire the best mapping people, but the best mapping people available will also want to come and work for Apple. Retraction: 150% improvement over the next 12 months.

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