Apple Maps a hit - and Google loses

Apple Maps a hit - and Google loses

Summary: Despite Apple Maps launch fiasco, it is a hit with iPhone users and has done real damage to Google. Why? How?

TOPICS: Storage, Apple, Apps, Google

Comscore's latest US marketshare numbers tell the story. In the US, according to the UK Guardian newspaper:

. . .Google has gone from having at least 31m users on the iPhone in April 2012 - and perhaps as many as 35m in September 2012, based on a model using a sliding scale of maps ownership - to around 6.3m who are using it monthly. . .

That is as many as 29 million people who've left Google Maps behind in the US alone - and its probably similar outside the US.

There are two important takeaways.

First, Apple's initial problems with Maps hasn't kept it from becoming the standard iPhone map app. Second, this hurts Google because they are increasingly selling location-based ads. Losing the affluent iPhone audience diminishes their selling proposition and costs them real money.

The Storage Bits take
Launch fiascos are nothing new in tech - Obama take note - and it was worse for Apple because of their reputation for quality. But they've recovered.

Google's smart move to limit turn-by-turn navigation to the Android platform - stiffing iOS - boomeranged, hurting their core ad business. The same is true for Microsoft's decision to not put Office on the iPad - millions of people are not using and not missing MS's cash cow.

I have both Map apps on my iPhone and like most I rarely use Google Maps. Apple Maps doesn't have all the features Google has, but it is fast, convenient and rarely fails to deliver good directions.

There's a lesson here for app developers: withholding your app from someone's preferred platform means you lose. Operating systems are passé, but few apps have the drawing power to get people to not use the default if there is one.

Hopefully Google - and Microsoft - have learned their lesson.

Comments welcome, as always. Would you change platforms for an app?

Topics: Storage, Apple, Apps, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Apple Maps is a joke

    I have no idea what people see in Apple maps, it's very behind in terms of accuracy and details.

    When compared on desktop, tablet and mobile ... Google map wins hands down with updated imagery, comprehensively higher image quality, accurate location pinpointing etc ... could it be that people like to think Apple are more secure because of Googles recent 'we snoop on emails' spat?!

    Or possibly they just wasted £600 on a new Apple product and have Stockholm syndrome?!

    If this is how fickle Apple users are, despite Apple previously handing over droves of user details to the NSA, then I'm glad I moved from iPhone 5 to Nexus 5 and that Google are reserving features for dedicated Android users.

    Considering that Google also own Waze and now integrating that system with GM for Android users only, I'm more than happy to stay put despite owning a handful of Apple products.

    Adios Apple maps.
    • Apple doesn't give public transport directions

      Last time I checked, Apple maps did not give public transport information.

      A good mapping program should be able to provide real-time bus and train information, walking and bicycle routes. When you step off a plane on the other side of the world, you really need accurate information to get around on a public transport system you have not used before.
      • Last time i checked neither did google

        In london anyways... It's there, but you really wanna add to your home screen oh and the national rail app... City mapper is pretty good, but the google directions are appalling at connections ... It can just about manage the tube okay.
        • In London HERE is as good as tfl

          I use the HERE suite but check in with the beta TFL jouney planner - which is marginally better if you want to choose between Overground, Tube and bus say. But for me HERE does it which ever European town I am in.
    • Yeah well

      He neglected to mention that Apple's global market share is down from 18 to 14.4% while Google has crossed 80% so it is a net loss OT net gain of 0% for either company.
      • And Next Quarter

        When the iPhone 5S/5C, new iPads have had a full quarter and Apple's marketshare rises, what will you say?
        • probably say that apples market share has shrank again lol!

          As above!
          • Probably still laughing

            If you think a couple of crazy days in the US will do much to the global % share, you really don't understand the current dynamics of the smartphone market. While apple gets a crazy few days of US sales, globally android is selling enough in the quarter to negate any US biased sales figures. Don't forget, it's mainly the yanks supporting IOS these days, globally it would appear people aren't so fixated by the fruity logo.
            Little Old Man
          • What???

            Are you saying what happens in the US is not the same in the rest of the world??? But the US is the center of the universe!!! You lie!! /s
          • Right. Tell that to Japan or China

            as they line up. Apple's laughing all the way to the bank. And Android vendors are slipping away into bankruptcy.
          • You mean "a couple" of Android vendors

            Samsung is an Android vendor NOT slipping away into bankrupcy.

            And if Apple's laughing all the way to the bank, why are they so worried about Samsung?

            They may not be laughing as much as you think, and there's a reason for that, you know.
      • Boo-hoo. Apple's not selling phones in the Congo.

        They don't care. All Apple cares about is taking share in the affluent areas because as Sutton said, "That's where the money is."

        Apple iOS sales go up YOY and even though iOS's growth isn't keeping pace with the overall growth, they are carving up the high-end as usual. And as we've seen for years, when people want to make money(and we all do. That's how we eat.), they go with Apple.

        That's why MS, Amazon and Google puts all their stuff on iOS and Apple doesn't reciprocate.

        They don't need to.
      • Do you

        Have any real proof of the global market share? I ask because more often than not your figures are not based in fact but based in your anti-Apple bias.
        • Seriously?

          Do you only read the 'Apple-friendly' posts on sites?

          Here's a couple examples:

          The Werewolf!
        • Seriously?

          You've managed to log in to a tech site but can't read the articles?

          Oh that's right, just a cheap shot, nothing with any basis, just playing the usual card.
          Seems we can't expect any better after all.
          Little Old Man
    • Works fine for me

      Apple Maps got me around the DC Area a couple weeks ago flawlessly. Even outdid my car's in-dash navigation with it's Circa-2009 maps.

      I've not had many issues with Apple's Maps.
    • Three Week Old Bread Freshness

      Stockholm Syndrome. Har de har har. I'm a prisoner and I love it: I get it.

      I also have Google Maps on my iPhone. I don't use it. I did now and then, but it's been months since the last time I did. Where I live, Apple Maps is fine.

      You should go back and read the article as it suggests that that is what's happening. Apple Maps is fine and people go to it first and stop there. Where Apple Maps isn't enough, I imagine people go to Google Maps. Some folks always were and always will be Google Maps user.

      This doesn't negate your points about Google Maps superiority, it means those features aren't necessary for many people.
    • Google Maps Accuracy?

      Sometimes Google is 'bang on" and sometimes off by several blocks when used for looking at an address. Apple maps are getting better by the day so the need to switch is going away.

      As for the google satelite view, they need a refresh here in Toronto. One address I checked showed the maps as 3 years or older at the moment so they seem to be milking the cash cow rather than keeping up to date. Apple Maps on my laptop actually showed the building I was sitting in at the time while Google showed a field.

      As for the Stockholm sydrome comment; are you afraid of competition? I thought competition was good? After all, who uses the preGoogle Mapping sites?
  • RE: Fiascos

    TWICE, Google Maps on iPhone routed me to turn left---INTO ON-COMING TRAFFIC---on a one-way street. Adios, Google!
    • Same experience here

      Google Maps has the tendency of suggesting driving against traffic ... Or would send me to the other side of town. That is why I stopped using it.