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Who's the Winner and Loser in the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) / Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps War?

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Consumers certainly are, at least in the short run.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL A week into the release of the iPhone 5, the backlash over Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) decision to drop Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps and introduce its own less-than-precise mapping application is out in full force.

Apple, to its credit, has come out and owned its decision to launch a flawed product. "We own this; we manage the vendors. This is no one's issue but ours," an unnamed Apple executive told the New York Times, adding that the company will "pour as much time and manpower into repairing Maps as it takes."

It has now emerged that the Apple/Google maps contract had another year to go before it expired, so the decision by Apple to drop Google was a purely strategic one. As Matthew Yglesias of Slate notes, the Cupertino, California-based company is hoping to "take advantage of Apple's extraordinarily strong market position right now to release an inferior map product in hope that doing so will let them build a superior product down the road."

While Apple users may gripe about the poor user experience of Apple Maps, they are unlikely to, say, switch over to an Android-powered Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) device or a Windows Phone 8 (NASDAQ:MSFT) that incorporates Nokia (NYSE:NOK) maps just because of this issue.
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