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


Consumers certainly are, at least in the short run.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is confident that losing mobile maps traffic from iOS 6.0 users will not hurt his company, telling reporters at a product launch in Japan, "Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher."

Todd Haselton, senior mobile analyst at tech site TechnoBuffalo, also believes Google will be unfazed by this development, telling Minyanville, "I don't think [Google's] worried about rushing out [a Maps app for iOS 6.0]. It doesn't need to and, in fact, it almost makes Android more desirable."

On the contrary, Hudgens thinks Google walked out as the loser. "This is definitely a loss for Google since they're now losing out on tens of millions of daily users for their maps app," he says. "Mobile and location based advertising is a key factor in Google's long term growth, therefore losing Apple as a distribution partner will dramatically decrease their reach."

Singapore-based iPhone and Web app developer Hwee-Boon Yar also points out to Minyanville that "Apple's maps will be the sole source of built-in and free map tiles for iOS developers, so the majority of third party apps will use those too. This restricts Google Maps on mobile to only Android devices, and perhaps whichever mobile platform cementing a third place in the space."

The real loser in this battle of tech giants, at least in the short run it seems, are the millions of iPhone 5 customers now stuck with a poor Maps app, as they await refinements to Maps.

But if there's one good thing that has emerged from this fracas, it's the hope that heightened competition will spur innovation. As Peter Krasilovsky, the program director for marketplaces at media research firm BIA/Kelsey, told the Times:

"Apple Maps are apparently not ready for prime time, and that's a loss. But a long-term loss? No. With all the incredible technology being developed by everybody, consumers are the winner."

(See also: A Walk With iOS 6 Maps: Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Horribly Revamped App Does New York.)

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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