Apple Gets the Last Laugh on Maps

You may have heard by now that the launch of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) Maps didn't go so well last year. The service's debut was plagued with a wide range of problems and triggered considerable user backlash after Apple displaced Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) pre-installed version over trying to get turn-by-turn directions. The whole debacle culminated in a public apology from CEO Tim Cook, a rare move from Apple.

However, comScore has released some new estimates on mapping users. A year ago, Google Maps had an estimated 81 million mobile users in the U.S. between both iOS and Android. That figure has dropped by approximately 22 million to just 59 million over the past year, while Apple Maps has grown to 35 million domestic users. That's despite the fact that Google Maps may be considered superior.

Consumers have long placed a high value on convenience, and this mapping duel is the latest example. Since Apple integrates its own offering by making it the default, users are more likely to stick with it as long as the performance is adequate. Google Maps may still be better, but not enough to make users go through the trouble to use it exclusively. 

In this segment of Tech Teardown, Erin Kennedy discusses the details of Apple's Maps success with Evan Niu, CFA, our tech and telecom bureau chief. 

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  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 4:09 AM, deemery wrote:

    Some of this is due to Google itself, and others are due to integration problems within iOS.

    If you're in an app and they offer "show me this on a map"

    1. The well-behaved iOS App uses the iOS API, which of course takes you to Apple Maps.app.

    2. Other apps provide a standard URL on maps.google.com Unfortunately, maps.google.com wants to push you to its Google Maps.app. But the Google website doesn't conveniently transfer information if you accept the offer to 'show in the Google Maps app.' This is -very frustrating-.

    Of course, any mapping application is only as strong as its data, and Apple is clearly behind Google, Nokia and Garmin in their map data quality.

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