Apple’s $30 billion maps mistake: Tim Cook’s delayed apology over the maps fiasco tells us a lot about the company’s attitude and management

“Since the iPhone 5 release, and the Maps fracas, Apple shares lost about 4.5% of their value, that’s about $30bn (£18.6bn) in market cap,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for The Guardian.

“Fair or not, it’s hard not to fantasise about another course of events where, in advance, a less apologetic Tim Cook letter would have told Apple customers of the ‘aspiring’ state of Apple maps and encouraged them to keep alternatives and workarounds in mind,” Gassée writes. “We’ll never know how Apple shares would have behaved, but they certainly wouldn’t have gone lower than they stand now – and Apple’s reputation as a forthright, thoughtful company would have been greatly enhanced.”

Gassée writes, “One is left to wonder how such a hot issue, Apple maps v Google maps, wasn’t handled with more care – before the blowup. And why, with inevitable comparisons between an infant product and a mature, world-class one, the marketing message was so lackadaisically bombastic… And last, the CEO. Was trust in his team misplaced or abused? Were the kind of checks that make Apple’s supply chain work so well also applied to the maps product, or was some ill side-effect of team spirit at play, preventing the much-needed bad news to reach the top?”

Read more in the full article here.

48 Comments

  1. ” … preventing the much-needed bad news to reach the top?”

    The people who much needed the bad news were the short sellers. They will very soon have pushed AAPL down to $650 and then they can ride it up again.

  2. concern trolling at its finest.

    the crocodile tears are touching, at least, but we’ve been through this many times.

    come back in three months, maggots.

  3. Anyone else tired of this endless harping on software bugs in ONE app?

    I use Maps almost every day and love it. People in the tech media are just piling on for the hits and for the sense of smug satisfaction they get by bashing the market leader.

    1. Not software bugs. Not at all.

      Deficiencies in the data, yes. That is easily corrected, and will be in time.

      Compare to the problems Google maps had, and still does. Maps cannot be completed without extensive, exhaustive ground verification.

      It always has been that way, and always will.

    2. gassée is right. no matter what we think of the apple maps app and if the flaws are only perceived the shitstorm in the media is real and could have been prevented. instead apple opened up a window for the haters to tarnish the brand. poor management in this case, that’s for sure.

      they could have labeled it a beta and tell anyone that it needs time to improve instead they called it the “most powerful map” solution or something. are they crazy? are they so disconnected from reality not to see that the apple hating media chamber will fall all over this hubris in a heartbeat and will blow it out of proportions? as a stockholder i am concerned tim cook let that happen. totally unnecessary.

  4. Tempest in a teapot. The public doesn’t care. Maps will get better over time. There will be something else to complain about.

    How about Microsoft fixing the bugs and security leaks in MS Office. It’s only been 25 years or so.

    1. What evidence do you have for making this outrageous statement, ” The public does’t care”? The article at least cites data, and anecdotally, I know a handful of people, who are refusing iOS 6/iPhone 5 precisely because of the unreliable Maps. People who regularly travel the world can’t afford to rely on an app that works in a few US cities only. Massive failure.

      1. I’m one of those people staying with IOS5 for the time being, mainly because Street View is so utterly compelling and useful.

        Likewise, I need the YouTube app to keep my vids looked after.

        Should have been simple enough for Apple to have kept the Googles and called Maps a beta.

  5. Working fine for me. I like how I don’t have to tap forward for the next turn. All automatic now. These so called journalist-tech writers milking it for all the click bait traffic they can muster.

  6. *YAWN*. I guess I should also write an article later today saying the same crap that everyone else is saying?

    Let’s see what we have seen so far (and multiple articles for each of these) :
    Apple Maps is a fiasco, they should have kept Google Maps
    Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs and he would have never let this out.
    Scott Forstall and/or Tim Cook should be fired.
    Tim Cook’s apology was brilliant.
    Tim Cook’s apology shows weakness.
    Tim Cook’s apology was too late.
    Tim Cook’s apology was not sincere and was “smarmy”.

    Geez…

    1. Agreed, I’ve had LOTS of problems with Google Maps giving inconsistent, bizarre, unrelated search results, getting directions wrong, having outdated satellite imagery, etc. But to hear the media tell it now, Google Maps is infallible.

  7. Holy Jesus…this much crap over not being 100 percent accurate and some goofy eye candy????

    If I had a $1 for every time google maps put me in the wrong place I’d be rich.

    I can’t believe Cook said anything! We had NO built in turn by turn..NOW WE DO! How is that a problem? Should I start a blog every time my Garmen messes up?

  8. I met him once. Back when he was trying to shop his BeOS to Apple. I also worked for Apple back then. Based on my personal observations and knowledge of his history with Apple I would never trust anything but naysaying from him when it comes to Apple.

  9. Now we have Apple Maps *and* Google Maps (via the browser). Soon we’ll have Apple Maps *and* Google Maps (via a native app).

    Thus iPhone users are in a better position than they were before.

    1. A point people are neglecting (on purpose) to mention. The iPhone 5 is top in everything …so the trolls needed something to harp on just to make a point. The apple haters don’t like apples we strive for perfection attitude..and do this type of thing just to bring them down. Reminds me of junior high.

  10. This is why you never hear Microsoft apologize for anything… because they would have do it every minute of the day. The problem with a company like Apple that is that they get it right so often, when they don’t, they get are vilified for not being perfect. Nobody is…

  11. Apple never should have apologized for what needed to be done a while ago after Apple’s Google board member was forced to leave after his betrayal. The map app should have been called it a Beta version and the reason for the departure from Google maps should have been stated. END OF STORY!

    I am sure that Apple will continue to improve the map software the same way they improve everything else. I am sure this needed to be done now due to the other new iOS devise products and services that are coming out this quarter.

    Suck it up. Was OS 9 to OS X easy? Was PowerPC to Intel easy? Would you want to go back on either now?

    1. Suck it up is right all you sissy whiners.

      USE MAPS AND HELP IT TWEAK IT’S DATA WHILE IT LEARNS the details that will showcase it’s features and esthetics.

      1. That’s what I’m doing, I have turn-by-turn on every time I’m in the car for every trip I make, not because I don’t know where I’m going, but just so that the system learns what the best way to get there actually is. A lot of times turn-by-turn tells me to go a longer way that I would need to. So I go the way I need to, and the system logs that and hopefully will eventually learn what the best route is.

      2. People forget how crappy the 10.0 version of OS X was. It was slow, terribly laggy, had no third-party software, and couldn’t even play DVDs! It was so bad that 10.1 was given away to 10.0 users for free. And look where it is now. And Steve never apologized for it.

    2. Beta : that says it all. I’m not upset over the maps app because it’s a work in progress, I’m pissed because I expect more from Cupertino. This is careless. Careless rhymes with Microsoft, Samsung,The GOOG and countless others. It’s not supposed to be associated with Apple. Work smarter Apple. C’mon, after 30 plus years I can’t leave ya now.

  12. I rarely used Maps with Google and instead used Magellan Roadmate. I was curious so I have been using Maps for iOS 6. It is a significant improvement to the Google version but I found two errors today. A golf course club house was across the street from the indicated location and my office was located about a half mile off. I submitted both error. When I checked my office location an hour later, it gave me the same incorrect location but noted it was “approximate”. Five minutes later it was correct. They seem to be working hard to fix.

  13. This maps issue is so overblown, it’s ridiculous! It works awesome for me! So much better than lame, no voice turn-by-turn, no 3D crap! Can it be made better? Of course!

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