File Under: Why Apple Built iOS Maps, and Why Google Should Have Played Nice

  • August 18, 2014
  • Scott

Statistics from EE show that Apple’s iOS maps dominate usage on their network:

Traffic on the new Apple Maps now represents 70% of mapping traffic on the 4G network, from 60% in the second half of 2013, taking market share from Google maps, which is down 7ppts. This difference is even more marked over 3G where Apple Maps is up 19ppts and Google Maps is down 15ppts.

This goes back to a discussion looking backward as to whether Google might have been better off partnering rather than going for the jugular in the mobile space.  As a result of that decision, they’re being cut off from default iOS mapping data and ad revenues, and seeing Search sidelined in iOS – as well as seeing Apple partnering with other firms to further segment search-like behavior by expertise (restaurants going to Yelp or OpenTable for instance).  It didn’t have to be this way.  In 2008, Apple and Google were great partners, as far as any iPhone customer was concerned.  Google’s desire to compete with everyone in every market has not been beneficial for the customer experience. The Google apps experience, and Gmail experience, on iOS has suffered from this decision.  And in the Android market, they may find a splinter of Android in China as a threat to their ecosystem because the splinters won’t have Google services embedded… and in the future may foster competitive services as a result.

Steve Jobs’ advice was pretty straightforward.  Focus on doing a few things insanely great – and discard the rest.  Google has profoundly dismissed that advice in their pursuit of competing in every category.  It isn’t clear to me that that was the right long-term move.  And data points like the one above show the chinks in the armor.

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