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Apple Maps Is Now a Success

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: GOOGL  ) Maps has lost U.S. users, falling from about 81 million Android and iOS users last year, to 59 million this past September.

Source: Apple Maps screenshot.

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.

Google Maps ads. Source: Google.

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.

Foolish thoughts
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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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:18 PM, mnadel wrote:

    Great. But how does Apple make money from Apple Maps? Why was it to Apple's advantage to end the maps partnership with Google instead of just using Google's mapping products in Apple's devices?

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 2:16 PM, mjw3786 wrote:

    Apple has a partnership with Yelp for POI data [reviews, photos, other crowdsourced info] so just as Google gets a little change every time someone clicks through on a map POI to a business website, Apple will get a kickback every time a Yelp review or POI page is viewed from their maps app.

    This being said, the TBT Nav is MUCH better in Google Maps for iOS than the Apple TBT. We don't use maps for anything but TBT Nav so we will never switch back to Apple's older and less mature database of roads, bridges, POI's etc. A headstart like the one Google had iss not something you can ever come back from.


    Apple mobile user for life

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:41 PM, st0815 wrote:

    @mnadel - The app for Google Maps on iOS was severely restricted, Android offered a much better experience. That has changed now (via their own app, and via a better Google app), which helps Apple to make their platform more attractive.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:43 AM, lrd555 wrote:

    Google maps wasnt a whole lot better than Apple maps. And every map has its flaws if you go looking for them. All those bad reviews & terrible launch where most likely Google paid bloggers made to influence everyone's perception of Apple's maps app- and it work. But lucky for Apple people tend to pick what's convenient.

    Heck I couldn't pointed out 15 or more bad flaws with Google maps I had encountered before they even gave iOS users turn by turn directions.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:53 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    I have noticed both good and bad features in both Map programs. And they both work reasonably well now.

    @Ird555: I agree w/ you about the paid blogger thing. Samsung does the same thing and on a larger scale.

    @mnadel: The reason Apple wants to keep its own Map program on iOS is that the company is a direct competitor to Google. Why help an enemy? They would love to kick Samsung chips out of its iPhone too someday.

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