Apple, Google, and the Map Wars

Another smart piece from Kontra, looking at Apple’s relationship with Google Maps:

Digital maps, once a wondrous novelty that started with Google Maps on the desktop, are no longer a mere destination app on mobile devices. Mapping frameworks are beginning to be tightly integrated at the OS level and maps are becoming primary UI conduits to ever more sophisticated location-based services.

Apple’s rivalry with Google is asymmetric. As I noted a few weeks ago, Apple has products that use Google services (search, maps, YouTube); Google has no products that use services from Apple. Android and Chrome OS could “lose” to the iPhone and iPad and Google could still win, so long as iPhone and iPad users continue making heavy use of Google services like web search, Google Maps, and YouTube. Whereas if Android and/or Chrome OS “win”, Apple gets bupkis.

On the other hand, if Apple starts dropping services like Google Maps and Google search, and the iPhone OS proves to be a long-term market winner, Google will lose traffic they would have otherwise won.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010