Apple caves after maps outrage adding Google tool for iPhone

‘Their Call’

While Apple’s map program doesn’t appear to have hurt sales of the iPhone 5, Cook said he was “extremely sorry for the frustration” the app caused consumers. “We are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook wrote in a letter to customers posted on its website.

Schmidt said Sept. 25 that Apple should have stuck with Google Maps.

“It would have been better if they had kept ours,” Schmidt said in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”

Google has been building out its online mapping software since 2005, using cars and satellites to accumulate data that helps improve its accuracy and reliability.

A team at Apple has been working to fix the mapping mistakes, focusing first on some of the most glaring problems, said one person familiar with the matter. The satellite imagery over the U.K. has been improved, and labels for popular U.S. landmarks such as the Washington Monument have been corrected.

TomTom Shares

Apple, which also eliminated the pre-installed app for Google’s YouTube video service, built the replacement map program because it wanted to scale back its relationship with Google, two people familiar with Apple’s development of maps said in September. Google then separately released its YouTube app for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s bungled introduction of new mapping features contributed to the ouster of mobile-software chief Scott Forstall, whose departure was announced in October.

In the past few years, Apple has acquired small mapping companies including C3 Technologies, Poly9 and Placebase. Apple is licensing location information from TomTom NV and OpenStreetMap.

Shares of TomTom, the Dutch supplier of navigation applications, rose the most in eight weeks in Amsterdam yesterday after an analyst at Rabobank International said the U.S. company may make a takeover bid.

There’s a 30 percent chance Apple will seek a purchase because the Dutch software maker has the capacity to make speedy changes to correct any mapping errors or create new functions, Hans Slob, an Utrecht, Netherlands-based analyst at Rabobank, said yesterday in a research report.

Bloomberg News


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