Google ‘yet to submit maps app to Apple’ for iPhone 5 users

25/09/2012

Apple’s heavily-criticised new mapping system looks set to remain the only location app on the iPhone 5 for a while longer, as Google revealed it has not yet submitted its mapping service for inclusion on the App Store. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has admitted that no move has been made to put the Internet search engine giant's map application on Apple's latest smartphone operating system, iOS6.

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"We've not done anything yet on that. We've been in touch with them for a long time (about Google Maps), and we talk to them every day," Mr. Schmidt said at an event in Tokyo to mark the launch of Nexus 7 tablet in Japan.

"In my opinion it would have been better to retain our maps," he said, adding that he would leave it to Apple to explain its decision.

Apple launched its own mapping service earlier this month when it began providing the highly anticipated update to its mobile software platform iOS 6 and started selling the iPhone 5.

But users have complained that Apple's new map service, based on Dutch navigation equipment and digital map maker TomTom NV's data, contains glaring geographical errors and lacks features that made Google Maps so popular.

"We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?" Schmidt told a small group of reporters in Tokyo. "What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."

Schmidt said Google and Apple were in constant communication "at all kinds of levels." But he said any decision on whether Google Maps would be accepted as an application in the Apple App Store would have to be made by Apple.

"We have not done anything yet," he said.

Google and Apple were close partners with the original iPhone in 2007 and its inclusion of YouTube and Google Maps. But the ties between the two have been strained by the rise of Google's Android mobile operating system, now the world's leading platform for smartphones.

Schmidt said he hoped Google would remain Apple's search partner on the iPhone but said that question was up to Apple.

"I'm not doing any predictions. We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I'm not going to speculate at all what they're going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit," he said.

Google provides Android free of charge and allows developers to add applications on an open basis, betting that by cultivating a bigger pool of users - now at over 500 million globally - it can make more money by providing search functions and selling advertising.

"Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher," Schmidt said, adding that success was often ignored by the media, which he said was "obsessed with Apple's marketing events and Apple's branding."

"That's great for Apple but the numbers are on our side," he said.

At one point, Schmidt, who was in Japan to announce the launch of Google's Nexus tablet here, used the device to show off a new function of Google Maps.

The feature allows users to shift their view of an area by moving the device in the air without touching the screen, similar to the effect of looking around.

"Take that Apple," he said, adding quickly, "That was a joke by the way."

Apple poaching Google maps staff?

Meanwhile, Techcrunch reports that Apple is seeking employees that have experience working on Google Maps.

Techcrunch's unnamed source, who apparently worked at Google Maps on integrating Streetview into the service, spilled the beans on Apple's employment strategy.

He said, "Many of my co-workers at Google Maps eventually left when their contracts ended or on their own accord. One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him. He had heard rumours for a while that Apple was going to develop its own in-house mapping platform, and given his experience at Google, he was an easy hire.

"Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he's now paid handsomely as a GIS Analyst."

The report states that the ex-Google staffer believes that Apple's Maps will be able to complete with Google Maps eventually. He added, "Apple needs to find a way to get its own [five] million miles of street view data, partner with the right folks, and spend a fortune on licensed data - which it can."

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