Apple Maps and the danger of overestimating your company’s strengths

“As everyone now knows, iOS 6’s developers replaced Google’s Maps application with Apple’s proprietary mapping utility, developed through company acquisitions and with help from TomTom,” Liz Larsen reports for Fast Company. “Initial reviews noted the lack of integrated transit directions (a default in Google’s Maps), location inaccuracies, missing landmark information, and imperfect (even melted!) 3-D views.”

“While the critical backlash hasn’t dented sales of the fifth-generation iPhone, we can apply this misstep to a larger enterprise issue: How should companies evaluate which functions are better outsourced and which should be maintained in-house? These often mission-critical decisions–when made out of haste or hubris–can be enough to put brand reputation and loyalty at stake,” Larsen reports. “When it came time to execute on the strategy of bringing a previously open-sourced application in-house, it would appear that Apple’s product development team had neither the time nor skill set to be successful, thus propelling the brand into an unwanted spotlight.”

Larsen reports, “Choosing to bring a new capability in-house is an exercise in honesty and objectivity, in terms of evaluating your own corporate identity and value proposition. And it is a decision that is best executed by taking personal pride (and even impatience) out of the formula. While some strategic moves may seem like a quick way to win a battle, presenting the best offering will ultimately win the war.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related article:
Tim Cook open letter: We fell short with new Maps app; we are extremely sorry – September 28, 2012


    1. It’s total blahblahblah business analysis without any discussion of the actual problems involved or how to solve them.

      it is a decision that is best executed by taking personal pride (and even impatience) out of the formula…

      Yes, please DO STFU.

      1. You do seem to rant at anything that is negative concerning Apple. The article is very accurate and logical. As opposed to your comments which are prejudiced towards any honest,objective observations of Apple that don’t gush and fawn all over Cupertino. Nothing personal.

        1. No personal affront taken. I’ve studied enough business, both classroom and IRL to enjoy some authority. Nailing the guy for writing a dissertation isn’t fair. But his comprehension of the problems involved remain superficial.

    2. Those who can, do.

      Those who can’t, write for Fast Company.

      What a useless rag. From what I’ve seen, their specialty is is breathless articles about new companies that quietly fail a year or so later.

    3. “When it came time to execute on the strategy of bringing a previously open-sourced application in-house, it would appear that Apple’s product development team had neither the time nor skill set to be successful, thus propelling the brand into an unwanted spotlight.”

      WTF are you talking about Liz? Open source? Apple outsource? Do you even know who Apple is? Couldn’t you somehow work in “best practices” and “zero tolerance” amidst the rest of your gibberish?

  1. Apple has ripped the pandora’s box top off mobile maps inviting comparison between google maps, apple maps and all of the other maps on the market… leveling the playing field right before they leap off and disrupt maps with Siri.

  2. I have been using maps and it seems to work perfectly for me. Who is having problems with it? For some reason I am a tad more comfortable letting Apple know where I am than Google. Google just started to get a little creepy.

    1. I have found two situations where maps is almost unusable. First when navigating around some of the smaller neighborhoods in the city. Google maps was never perfect here either. The second situation is the one that is giving me fits. That is when I input a business or resturant that I know exists but can’t remember exactly where in the city it is. I have had the business not show up at all more than I have found my destination. This has become so frustrating that I have resorted to waze becoming my go to map app. This is inconvient to say the least. I want to be able to say Siri where is … and get directions. This does not work most of the time now.

  3. As reported before:
    1) Google held features back from iOS (Turn by Turn, etc)
    2) Apple/Google licensing ends mid-2013, right in the middle of iOS6 cycle. Holding back Apple Maps until then would not be optimum.
    3) Apple was either forced to stay behind on map features under Google’s will, or Apple do their own maps. Yes, it’s not fully baked, but this has been blown WAY out of proportion because Apple generates hits for all of the “Hit Whore” journalists of the world.

  4. Poor show Apple. Try thinking about making your software ready for release rather than rushing it out. I am sure all the iSheep will still be bah’ing with praise despite the flaws.

      1. Yeah sorry about that…no really I am. Perhaps I should say something along the lines of Apple put money before customers despite the oh so caring and very thoughtful press releases to basically say we screwed up!

    1. I think its curious that so many fandroids are on one hand, referring to iPhone buyers as iSheep and on the other proclaiming the iPhone’s market share as half of androids (30% vs 60% respectively).

      Chuck, buy a clue; if that is true and the iPhone is a minority choice (and android the majority) then it is choosing an android phone that is “me-too” flocking behavior. Buying an iPhone that would represent bucking the crowd for what you believe is a superior product. This is also certainly true of Macintosh (which has always had a minority market share compared to windows)

        1. Because they’re cheap bastards. The majority of Android phones sold aren’t the top of the line models but plastic junk. And PC’s aren’t known as the world’s most expensive computer (though it depends). Choosy phone users with the most app money to spend choose IPhone.

          1. People know what they want when they buy a phone or computer – not everyone wants to spend the kind of money Apple asks for their products either despite all the marketing they do to advertise. I could go out and buy and iPad3, iPhone 5 and Macbook Air/Pro tomorrow if I wanted but I am wise with my money.

        2. Family Plan, buy one Android and get five free Androids or buy five iPhones. Ummmmm… I would say if you eliminate the “free” Android phones….Google losses seventy-five percent of it market share over night.

  5. With the iPhone 5 sales going through the roof, it show that the stock market boys on Wall Street continue to miss the mark. Steve J. was right when he suggested that market boys are bad at running companies. Apple is probably one of the best run companies around, but still the market boys are trying to low ball the company. The map problem prove one thing… Consumers want the iPhone, not the map program.

  6. When did Google ever apologize for its mediocre maps functioning here in South adores and China? How come Walll Sttreet never bothered to lambast Google for being inferior to Daum maps here in Deoul? In one fell sweep Apple has already surpassed Ggogle maps in China, and they’re only beginning.

  7. This is a values issue: the folks at Maps cared more about their comfort zones than creating a life change. They were the wrong people and Tim let himself be fooled. I don’t think it wullhapien again and I hope the slugs that are responsible end up at RIM or Nokia or something.

  8. Apple maps is a flawed 1.0 product. So what. It is a smash hit, out of the park home run for driver safety. Google decided to hamstring the iPhone mapping software that launched their sorry mobile asses years before they ripped off the iPhone IP. Everyone, including Gruber says that was ok because it was a business decision. One use of Apple’s turn by turn direction shows that Google’s “business decision” was typical for the company that gives not a damn for its consumers and treats them like sheep to be harvested for their personal information to be sold to the highest bidder. By not including turn by turn to give a competitive edge to Android phone users, Google put their business interest in front of the safety of hundreds of millions of iPhone drivers using their maps. The difference in driving safety with turn by turn directions and voice is just stunning. How many traffic accidents and fatalities could Google have helped drivers avoid? You only have to use the new iOS6 maps once with turn by turn to know how truly evil and greedy Google is. By using the sorry excuse of keeping a business edge Google has been directly involved in a public health hazard at least as risky as texting and driving. Google is truly a loathsome and slimy company, proving yet again that they care not a wit about anything but sucking the money our of other people’s pockets.

  9. Apology accepted please ensure that quality is job one be not like Toyota Nissan ford Mercedes Benz in letting go because they were producing units that were selling like hotcakes!

  10. Apple didn’t go fully in house. It changed system and vendors. Also, google is not really cool vendor to work with… They are just large and have more data at this time. Apple and its partners will get the data in time and they are much better companies to work with.
    On another note, I remember google maps used to be extremely buggy at least in my region. It was time and usage of the google map that made it work well.

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