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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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Thus, Apple's willing to tolerate some customer dissatisfaction because there is an enormous upside in having its own mobile mapping service, especially in the growth potential of location-based services and advertising, a battleground in which other tech giants such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and AOL (NYSE:AOL) are also competing.

"If you own a mobile ecology, as Google does, the other mobile ecology owners are not going to allow you to own tons of data in their world," Scott Rafer, chief executive of Lumatic, which makes city map apps, told the Times. "And so neither Apple nor Amazon were going to let Google know where every one of their users was at every time."

However, Jordan Hudgens, Senior Software Engineer at software design firm MCW Services, points out that Apple's decision to cut the Google Maps cord was prompted by more than the promise of future location-based revenues.

"Though I'm sure that future location-based advertising possibilities played a role in the decision, the true motivating factor is the growing disdain Apple has for Google and the Android OS. If this was simply about the maps application, Apple wouldn't have simultaneously removed YouTube as a native app," he tells Minyanville.

"Despite the bugs with the product launch, becoming independent from Google was a necessary step for Apple and the iOS ecosystem. Considering the fact that Google has positioned itself as the de facto competitor for Apple's main product line, [Apple] management couldn't let Google Maps attain ubiquity on a cross-platform basis," Hudgens asserts.

While Apple is scrambling to improve its Maps application and smooth the Google-to-Apple transition, Google, caught off-guard by Apple's decision, is also working to develop a maps application for the iPhone and iPad by the end of the year.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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