Gruber: On the timing of Apple’s Map switch

“Let’s assume the timeframes being reported about Apple and Google’s maps license are accurate. The various reports coming out yesterday and today are in general agreement in this regard, and my own sources (who in this case are, as they say, directly familiar with the matter) back this up,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball.

Apple switched from Google Maps to a homegrown solution and Google was advised of the change earlier this year. There was still a year was left on the current deal when Apple released their own Maps app in iOS 6.

“WWDC took place in June this year (as usual). That suggests the old deal ran through, at the latest, somewhere around June or July 2013,” Gruber writes. “Timeline-wise, and regarding Google’s purported surprise that Apple made this switch, it’s worth pointing out that Apple began making mapping-based acquisitions in July 2009, when they acquired Placebase. Apple then acquired Poly9 a year later, and then, a year ago, acquired C3 Technologies for $267 million. What exactly did Google think Apple was acquiring these companies for if not to replace Google Maps with their own offering?”

Much more in the full article here.

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

Related articles:
Apple on Maps app inaccuracies: ‘This is no one’s issue but ours’ – September 26, 2012
Apple-Google Maps talks ended over turn-by-turn navigation – September 26, 2012
Apple had more than a year left on Google Maps contract, sent Google scrambling to build iOS app – September 26, 2012

36 Comments

    1. +1 🙂

      I’m surprised more tech reporters couldn’t follow that map. (Okay, not really) If Apple waited another year, that would mean another year without voice turn-by-turn. The time to dump Google was now.

    2. Jobs was happy to work with trustworthy and vibrant tech partners. But history repeated itself and Jobs once again found a knife in his back from greedy would-be competitors. Google and Samsung, you should take a lesson from Apple’s lengthy battle with Microsoft. When the dust settles Apple will be the victor. It may take a while, but your lying, underhanded, copying, thieving asses will be soundly kicked.

  1. My guess is they did see it coming, in June or July of 2013. Was there any reason to believe that Apple would terminate the agreement a year early? They argued over features, but with one year left, it seems like most would assume the deal would ride out and then Apple would do its own thing (based on all of its acquisitions) and that Google would take late 2012 and early 2013 to develop a standalone solution (which they are supposedly already doing).

    1. Seems logical. I guess Apple just wanted to jump the
      gum? Bad timing. I’ll advised move. Dumb. Wait until
      you have a decent map app not before. Oh well, they
      screwed up. Move on. Get the GOOG map app
      with Street View in a few weeks. Delete it if Apple
      ever comes up with its equal. I don’t think they will. But
      they had better.

        1. No, it was both ill and I’ll advised. You have your thought. I have mine. Mine is the general concensus of objective non fanboy people. But you’re entitled to your opinion. Apple simply needed to get things ready before releasing it. And yes we all agree : Google is evil.

          1. If you say so, GM. But I agree with both The Other Steve and Lordthree. Ideally Apple Maps would have been released a couple of years ago. But now is better than later. Apple gained ground by releasing Apple Maps a year earlier than they might have been forced to contractually do so. Smart move. Give Apple 6 months or so and Apple Maps will rock even more.

    2. RTFA!!!!
      Gruber points out that, for Apple to roll out its own maps, Apple had to do this in a major upgrade and the contract with Google would run out before iOS 7 is likely to come out. You do realize that this isn’t a “flip a switch” kind of thing, right? Apple can’t just “ride out” the deal and decide what to do and deploy a new solution on a few week’s notice if they can’t work something out.

      Geez. Talk about missing the point.

    3. However, if negotiations had stalled out and it was obvious to Apple that Google would never implement turn-by-turn directions in iOS, then Apple is well-served by dumping Google sooner rather than later. Cut off one year’s worth of Google’s revenue from Maps and show Google just how short-sighted it really is.

      Not that Google would ever see that.

  2. My take is Google (scum) is just trying to make Apple look bad for not giving then time to create a separate app and are dragging their feet to allow bad press for Apple’s new maps to convert users to Android ( crap). The laugh is on them if they really think that will happen. Bwah-hah-hah!!!!! Idiots!!!!!

  3. I think Apple wanted to deprive Google as soon as possible and did not anticipate the unforgiving backlash to follow for daring to do anything less than perfection. It they had labeled it a beta as they did Siri a lot of this disingenuous site hit baiting media stuff portending disaster and overblowing the problem might have been avoided. Jobs may have weighed in more contemplating scenarios like this more than Tim Cook has appeared to but he’s learning. Like those terrible Mac Genius ads that Apple is so much more capable of doing better on.

  4. I don’t know, if I had $100b on the bank I’d bide my time and wait until my app was, you know, actually ready.
    I’m currently sitting in a 500,000 sq ft conference center that is missing from Apple’s map app.
    Looking at the map again:
    Publix, Home Depot, Belk, QT, the movie theater, all are not on the map.
    I couldn’t care less about who knew what and when. I care that the user experience is crap because of Apple’s endless war with Google.

    1. “I care that the user experience is crap because of Apple’s endless war with Google.”

      If you care so much, it will take no time to click the button in the maps app to describe the error to Apple. It’s up to you at this point buddy. And since you “care” so much I’m sure you will do that so Apple can expedite such required fixes.

      Google screwed with Apple by not allowing turn by turn directions (thereby trying to give Google’s Android an advantage). Google also screwed Apple by stealing their intellectual properties. The “war” was created by Google’s actions.

      That sentence of yours should be: “I care that the user experience is crap because of Google not being a good business partner for Apple via their endless thievery of Apple IP and crippling Google Maps on the iPhone by restricting features, and my disdain of simply clicking on a button in Maps to report bug fixes and give feedback to Apple.”

      1. It’s not the end-users responsibility to bug-fix applications, especially applications from the most financially successful company on the planet. Apple is the it-just-works maker of products and this plainly does not work. Had Microsoft done this, we would all be laughing at their Vista-like s.n.a.f.u. Who cares about turn by turn if it leads you to the wrong spot, as Andy Ihnatko discovered testing the app. If you don’t have accurate map data, you don’t have a map app.

        1. “It’s not the end-users responsibility to bug-fix applications”

          Apple would be doing the bug fixing obviously. If there is an error you find, there’s a benefit in giving that info to Apple so they can fix such bugs.

          “especially applications from the most financially successful company on the planet. ”

          Just because a company is financially successful doesn’t have anything to do with the matter.

          “Apple is the it-just-works maker of products and this plainly does not work.”

          Seems like overblown FUD to me. Over 99% of Apple’s maps information is accurate.

          “Had Microsoft done this, we would all be laughing at their Vista-like s.n.a.f.u. Who cares about turn by turn if it leads you to the wrong spot, as Andy Ihnatko discovered testing the app. If you don’t have accurate map data, you don’t have a map app.”

          If that statement is true, then Google doesn’t have a map application either. There have been many times where the google maps feature had incorrect information regarding street names and directions for me personally. Just because Andy ihnatko is well-known in the Apple community doesn’t denigrate the fact that I’ve also seen these issues with Google’s map services. So it’s not a one way street like you want it to seem like. As said before, over 99% of Apple’s map information is accurate. But FUD away if you must. Most will see you as what you are: a bullshitter.

      2. Ok. First of all I’m not your buddy you sarcastic ass.
        Second, I never said who was at fault, I just said the two parties are at war, learn to read.
        I have hit Report a Problem every day since getting my iPhone 5 even though I never needed to do that in 5 yrs of using Google maps.
        Apple was demonstrably unprepared to take on global mapping. Google ‘screwing’ them has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

        1. “Ok. First of all I’m not your buddy you sarcastic ass.”

          lol.

          “Second, I never said who was at fault, I just said the two parties are at war, learn to read.”

          Complete BS. When you state “Apple’s endless war with Google”, you put it in Apple’s ballpark. I needed to mention by necessity that Google created the war in the first place.

          “I have hit Report a Problem every day since getting my iPhone 5 even though I never needed to do that in 5 yrs of using Google maps.”

          Good. Given time the issues you are complaining about will be fixed and you can stop obsessing over Google maps.

          “Apple was demonstrably unprepared to take on global mapping. Google ‘screwing’ them has nothing whatsoever to do with it.”

          Google screwing them has everything to do with Apple not being allowed to have real time turn by turn directions and the necessity for Apple to sever ties from IP-theiving Google. Tim Cook apologized about this matter and gave options for you in the meantime. Given time Apple’s map application will be the best out there buddy.

  5. Apple could have offered it as a parallel download for those who were dissatisfied with the maps app. And then after a year of gathering user generated data when its own maps app was up to scratch, remove the Google maps app altogether. By which time Google would have had the time to have its app approved for the app store.

    I’m personally not bothered either way as I don’t rely on maps in my every day existence. But giving people choice is always a good idea than locking them in on a single solution.

    1. “But giving people choice is always a good idea than locking them in on a single solution”

      Had to chuckle there. This *is* Apple we’re talking about, right? I like them well enough and will fight off unjustified fandroid attacks, but we know Apple has some of its own issues, and this is one of them.

  6. I don’t think I am the only one who for this exact reason – the fforced bundling of the unreliable iOS 6 Map app – is pleased to bypass Phone 5. Arrogance coupled with another no-option Apple manoeuvre – is really getting to be too much.

        1. You must mean “on behalf of” Lordthree. Actually it’s obviously irrelevant where I’m from, and I certainly am not on Google’s payroll – both comments are hilarious. All I meant was that I will keep my current iPhone running iOS 5 as the new Apple mapping application is simply unreliable. Surely you’ve seen the reviews, and maybe even experienced this beta-level release personally.

    1. I have found Apple Maps to be MORE accurate than Google Maps for what I have used. Turn-by-turn is great, and I like the new GUI much better.

      The “melting road” syndrome is a bug in the 3D maps; it doesn’t affect 2D maps or navigation. And I’m sure Apple is scrambling with an “all hands on deck” mentality to fix the data issues. Just remember, the data comes from third parties (TomTom, Waze, etc.), so it’s their data which pulls up incorrect information. Plus, Apple provides a feedback route so you can directly help them make even more accurate maps instead of waiting for a self-driving Google Prius to saunter by and photograph you peeing on a car tire.

  7. Another point that proves all this map whining is for nothing.
    I’ve used the maps and it works for me. I believe I saw an article which stated that 99% of the IOS6 maps were accurate.
    Apple’s working on fixing the rest with an update. So I wish the stories about maps would now stop as it is a mute point. Google didn’t want to include turn by turn navigation, Apple did. That’s another reason Apple made the change for the better in my opinion.

    1. That’s the problem when you’re at the top and/or most popular–you’re in the news and are talked about all the time, but the masses are fickle, they love taking the top down a few pegs to make them feel less insignificant. Whether the reasons to switch were good or bad, Apple still brought this on themselves with an abnormally far-from-perfect service without slapping a “beta” onto it.

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