Report: Apple, Google maps debacle sparked by voice navigation disagreement


(CBS News) Turn-by-turn voice navigation may be at the heart of Apple's decision to leave Google Maps out of its latest iOS update.

Apple released iOS 6 on Sept. 19. The new mobile operating system dropped the Google Maps app, which had been included in the iPhone since its initial release in 2007, opting for its own Apple Maps app instead.

The move was controversial because immediately following the update, users complained of getting lost, not seeing landmarks and the lack of public transit directions.

According to AllThingsD, "multiple sources familiar with Apple" say that Apple's hand was forced because it wanted voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation - a feature that is already available in Google Maps for Android mobile phones. But the sources posit that Google invested tremendous resources into bringing the feature to Android and it didn't want to give a competitor its precious data.

Although there were several issues that exacerbated the negotiations, AllThingsD's source said that voice navigation was the "deal-breaker."

The heated negotiations may be why Apple rushed to launch Apple Maps. The Verge reported that Apple had another year left on its contract with Google, but decided to ditch the app a year early.

Google Maps has been a default app on the iPhone since its introduction in 2007. Google launched its mobile operating system Android in 2008, heating up the competition between the two companies. Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs famously said to his biographer, "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Apple responded to critics last week. In a statement the company said it is just getting started and is working to improve Apple Maps.

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt recently said that the search giant is not working on a Google Maps app for iOS 6, but rumors have circulated that contradict his comments. Citing "roundabout sources," The Guardian reported last week that a Google Maps app will appear in time, but there is no official timeline.