After more than year after its launch, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) Maps finally has something to brag about. According to comScore data, the app grabbed 35 million iOS U.S. users in September. Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Maps has lost U.S. users, falling from about 81 million Android and iOS users last year, to 59 million this past September.
The times, they are a-changin'
Just in case you missed that, 35 million iOS users used Apple Maps in September of this year, and 59 million Android and iOS users went to Google Maps. The product launch of Apple Maps was a disaster, but Apple has certainly turned the tide for its in-house map service.
As The Guardian pointed out, after the Apple Maps fiasco, Google launched its maps app on iOS at the end of 2012, which received 10 million downloads in just 48 hours. But there's one thing Apple has had going for its maps app the entire time: convenience.
Though Apple botched images, directions, and locations when the app first launched, Maps is paired with so many parts of iOS that it's much more convenient to use the app than Google Maps. Though convenience wasn't the best long-term strategy when Apple introduced the flawed program, it's certainly paid off as the app has been improved. Now, iOS users not only have a convenient pairing of iOS and Apple Maps, but the app's refinements make it much more of a formidable opponent to Google's service.
There's money to be made -- or lost
Apple's gain of more app users don't really have much monetary value for the company. Apple is able to use the data it collects from Maps to improve the app, traffic data, and cellular signal information.
But it's a very different story for Google.
Google uses data from its maps app to feed users location-based advertising in the app and its search service. At the beginning of August, Google launched local ads at the bottom of its maps app on Android and iOS platforms. The ads appear after users search for an address or for a business. With Apple making big gains in the map space, it could eventually cut into the advertising revenue that Google will receive from the iOS Google Maps app.
Achieving 35 million users for its maps app is a big win for Apple. The app deservedly got a lot of bad press last year, but the latest usage numbers show Apple can hold onto its user base, and tap into a new territory that was previously dominated by its rival. It's yet more proof that Apple has massive influence over iOS users -- and it can use that influence to reduce Google's advertising at the same time.
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