Om Malik likens Apple Maps to Microsoft’s Bing

Apple is rolling out a new map with richer details and better road coverage.
Apple is rolling out a new map with richer details and better road coverage.

Om Malik:

Seven years ago, Apple decided that it’d had enough of using Google’s mapping data. They realized that maps and mapping services were so strategic that they couldn’t really afford to depend on a smartphone rival. So, they began building their own, and in September 2012, the company launched Apple Maps. And if I am being honest, the program has always been akin to that baby face that only a mother can love.

During the keynote at the recently concluded WWDC 2019, Apple executives made a big deal about the massive improvements in the Maps… My reaction to Apple Maps was a shrug. So, they are finally catching up to Google — but will they ever be able to catch up with Google Maps?

So when I think of Apple Maps, no matter how improved they might be, all it does is remind me of Bing — an also-ran that can never catch up to Google, because more people use Google’s search… But 10 years in, globally, it still has less than one percent of usage share on mobile. On desktops where Microsoft is the dominant Operating System provider, it has a mere 8.24 percent of market share, behind Baidu with its 10 percent usage share, and not even close to Google, which has a 75.5 percent usage share.

For the month of May 2019, Google Maps was ranked at number eighth among all applications in the United States, and it was ranked fifth in Europe. The new Apple Maps may be nice to look at, and it might be quite improved, but it will always be — at best — a distant second. It is the Bing of maps.

MacDailyNews Take: Malik employs some slight of hand here by comparing apples and oranges. He states that after 10 years, Bing has less than 1% usage share globally. So why does Malik then compare Apple Maps to Bing in terms of app “rank” (which we assume mean downloads as Malik provides no further explanation or source)?

So that he can call Apple Maps the “Bing of Maps,” that’s why.

Let’s compare apples to apples instead: After 10 years, Bing has less than 1% usage share globally. After just 6 years, Apple Maps already had 11% usage share globally* – and that’s year-old data and before the current round of significant improvements, including rebuilding the app from the ground up!

As of 2017, 75% of iOS users used Apple Maps, not Google Maps. That doesn’t sound anything like “Bing.”

The fact of the matter is that the world’s best customers — those with disposable income and the proven will to spend it — use Apple Maps, not Google Maps.

“source: The Manifest navigation app survey, July 2018


  1. Apple is making great effort of update their maps right now. I see the Apple’s camera cars driving around my region of the world almost every day right now. They say Apple Maps on the cars.

    As much as I would like to, I rarely use Apple Maps. I have both an iPhone and an Android phone. So I need something that I can use cross platform. I use both, Google Maps and NavMii.

    The article itself says nothing. People use what works for them. I do pull out Apple Maps from time to time, but it doesn’t meet what I need as much as some others.

  2. Om can say whatever he likes… from where I am sitting. Google get nothing from me… no maps, no search (duck duck 🙂 no Gmail, nothing… From that perspective, and i am sure there are many like me, Apple Maps is awesome enough.

  3. Google is the undisputed leader in Maps used for surveilling the location data of people and profiting by selling that private information. Om probably likes the Obama IRS, FBI and NSA.

    1. Google also helps municipalities with planning maintenance and new roads by providing aggregate data on traffic load history through Google Maps and Waze data.

  4. I read this sort of distortion crap from the media every day. Why doesn’t the guy just say it – “I’ve been using Google Maps for a long time and am used to it, so I think its best. I don’t use Apple Maps, so I assume I know what I’m talking about when I say no one else uses it.” I’ve used all three Apps and can say with confidence that I like Apple Maps best and am excited for the new updates.

  5. Apple may have decided that maps were so important they needed their own product, but what really forced their hand was that Google kept delaying improvements to the iOS version in favour of the Android version.

    1. With the way Apple worked with Uber giving them ‘deeper’ iOS API access and the resulting mess, it is highly possible Apple in its ‘wisdom’ of also restricting outside API installs into iOS (see forced use of iOS Webkit for 3rd party web browsers) severely curbed implementation of improvements to the iOS Google Maps. No real surprise any company can improve products in its own ecosystem with more freedom than on another company’s.

      Might be about time for Apple create an Android version of Apple Maps and keep it at least as current as they expected Google to do for iOS.

  6. Apple Maps is good in the Bay Area, sucks in Eastern Europe, depends where you are using the app. If I need to get somewhere fast with certainty i’ll get accurate directions in EE then its Google Maps.

  7. Apple did the right thing by rolling their own, for A.I. (whatever that is?) in the future your machine-robot is going to need that in house map info, and that also includes internal router’s and modem capability, Apple got a lot of work to do.

  8. Apple see’s their maps as a core technology for their products and services. It doesn’t exist just to take on Google or even to become the number one mapping service.

    Apple Maps will likely be critical for Apple’s future products and services like AR/MR glasses and autonomous vehicles.

    Apple Maps will eventually catch up if Apple keeps this pace of development up. As with all mature products, Google Maps is really at the stage of making small and minor gains. At a certain point Apple Maps will have all of the same key features as Google Maps and at that point most general users will just use the built-in app as it will be more than good enough (and won’t abuse your personal data).

    Personally I would love to see Apple Maps gain the ability to define way points on routes, more points of interests and more businesses.

  9. I use Apple Maps all the time. The feature I like most is that I can select the gender and accent of the voice that gives me directions. I tried the American and Australian male voices, but I settled on the South African male voice. I don’t like the sexist stereotype that people in helping professions have to be female, and I don’t need a mommy.

  10. Om Malik has surrendered his identity. Im struggling not to surrender mine. Apple Maps it is for me. So far, I’m batting 1000 for getting where I’m going with Apple Maps. Google might still be able to find me, but not without a fight.

  11. I think he totally misunderstands the reason for Apple Maps existence as technology pans out in the future. Map information is integral to these developments and it will be increasingly embedded into all manner of devices on a massive scale far more immersive than today. Indeed many devices are and will be (cars for example) totally dependent upon map information to the point even where the map provider will know intrinsically about any technology that you are developing. If they are a competitor that will be almost impossible to counter effectively.

    By using Apple Maps instead of Google maps this gives Apple an absolute element of control in these developments and environments that many people will not even register but prevent Apples quest for privacy being completely undermined by an outside competitor, it will all be kept private where it most needs to be certainly unless the user decides otherwise as and where that user may. The other importance of Apple maps is where we will never see it in as far as what we would have lost to Google (and others) had it not existed either directly by Googles otherwise total control of the technology on the platform and as a bargaining chip for Googles other schemes to infiltrate the platform which it now cannot do because it does not exclusively control an increasingly vital element of Apple’s ecosystem.

    Imagine Google maps as a bargaining chip the next time they and Apple discuss the status of Google search on the iPhone, and the pressure they could put on should Apples products rely totally on its maps software. They certainly wouldn’t be earning the millions they do now from Google thats for sure while Google maps would never be as immersive on the Mac/iOS as it is now either in a very similar way that Microsoft exploited its assets on the desktop way back when.

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