Apple Maps a hit - and Google loses

Despite Apple Maps launch fiasco, it is a hit with iPhone users and has done real damage to Google. Why? How?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

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?

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