When Apple chose not to include Google Maps data with the release of Maps for iOS 6, the assumption was that whatever licensing deal existed between Apple and Google had expired, and Apple chose to go its own way, rather than renew the agreement. After all, that’s pretty much exactly what happened regarding the bundling of YouTube in iOS. It’s now coming to light, though, that Apple could have kept using Google’s data under the existing terms of its deal for at least another year. Did Apple make a mistake in jumping ship too early?
If Maps on iOS 6 had arrived with a slam dunk, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, but considering the almost comical way the app fell flat on its face, right out of the door, we’ve got to wonder why Apple was in such a hurry to abandon Google Maps. Surely, it could have taken another year to flesh-out its new Maps and eventually deliver a much more polished product. While that would mean a delay before it could assert its Google-independence, wouldn’t it be preferable to show that it’s better-off without Google, rather than make the second-tier showing that it did?
It’s a moot point now, as Apple’s already made its decision, and from the sound of things, we won’t be seeing Google release a stand-alone iOS Google Maps app, either. For now, look for Apple to concentrate on improving the Maps dataset; at least it’s not going to get any worse, right?