Apple Reportedly Had Over a Year Left on Maps Contract with Google
Amid widespread complaints over Apple's new iOS 6 Maps app, which replaced the Google-powered application that had shipped on iOS devices since the iPhone debuted in 2007, some observers have wondered how much of the shift was due to Apple's desire to reduce its reliance upon on Google and how much might be due to other factors.
In particular, there has been some speculation that demands by Google could also have played a role in Apple's decision, with the suggestion being that Apple may have been forced to roll out its own mapping solution a bit sooner than it had planned for if its contract with Google had been running out.
The Verge now reports that such speculation is unfounded, with Apple and Google having had over a year left on their contract for Google's Maps app. Consequently, Apple could presumably have continued using Google's app in iOS 6 as it worked to improve its own mapping product for a launch with iOS 7 next year.
For its part, Apple apparently felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn't have access to turn-by-turn navigation, which Google has shipped on Android phones for several years. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google also wanted more prominent branding and the ability to add features like Latitude, and executives at the search giant were unhappy with Apple's renewal terms. But the existing deal between the two companies was still valid and didn't have any additional requirements, according to our sources — Apple decided to simply end it and ship the new maps with turn-by-turn.
Apple's decision apparently caught Google off-guard, as Google is reportedly still several months away from having a standalone maps app ready for submission to the App Store.