Google insiders reportedly concerned Apple won't approve Google Maps app for iOS

Google workers skeptical about Maps app approval

While Google has been working on a new Google Maps app for iOS, the question has been raised as to whether or not the app will be approved. Google apparently wishes to launch the app by the end of the year, but certain circles within the company are wondering if Apple will draw out the approval process for the app or reject it outright. These groups place the blame on industry politics, and cite the lack of apps using the Google Map API in Apple’s “Find maps for your iPhone” App Store section as the reason for their skepticism. Michael Grothaus of the Guardian reports that some within Google believe that the bad blood between the companies is the reason for this omission:

Further, a source at Google told me the feeling is that those apps were purposely left out of the new section because they promote Google and its "superior product" – at a time when there is so much bad blood between the companies over the continuing smartphone patent litigation (following allegations from the late Steve Jobs that Google's Android OS ripped off iOS). In other words, no matter how bad Apple's Maps are, the company still wants its users to move on from Google – and forget about them. This doesn't bode well for the approval of an official Google Maps app, the source says.

However, it wouldn’t make any sense for Apple to outright reject the full Google Maps app directly from Google. Apple wants you to use maps, certainly, but if you use a Google Maps iOS app instead, you’re still using it on an iOS device, and Apple still wins. Additionally, Apple has been down this road before with Google Voice, when they removed all Google Voice apps from the App Store for over a year and ended up facing the threat of a Federal investigation.

Apple surely has no desire to repeat that episode on a much larger scale. Rejecting the Google Maps app at this point would be a bad move, and a very public one at that. Many more people use Google Maps than have ever used Google Voice, and there would no doubt be a much greater uproar if Apple rejected a Maps app from Google.

There may well be an awkwardly long delay in the approval process once Google sends the new Google Maps app to Apple, similar to the one Google Search just experienced, but don't expect an outright rejection.

Source: The Guardian

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Google insiders reportedly concerned Apple won't approve Google Maps app for iOS

25 Comments

Had Google stayed out of Smartphones, this would have never happened.
Everyone just needs to do what they do and stop stepping on toes.

Apple should build the phones. Google should provide search and maps.

Or more like Apple should build phones. Google should provide cloud services. Then the two merge into one killer mobile organization.

Well I certainly can't think of a better way to kill innovation, I'll give you that.

Imagine if apple had just kept "doing what they do" in 2006 and continued making iPods and not infringing on blackberry and Nokia by building a phone. The smartphone. Market would definitely be better off no doubt.

Jumping the gun a bit since they have not actually rejected anything. It's a lot of supposition. Sure it could happen. On the other hand Apple wants you it's Navigation but it still allows Garmin, Waze etc. Apple wants you to use it's email but it allows a gmail app. To use it's browser but it allows Google's Chrome. Another thing is Apple wants to present the image that it's the best. That their apps and interface are clearly better then all the others. In order to do that they sort of need to take on all comers. I think as long as Google doesn't open themselves up by including potentially shady things of controversial things it won't get rejected. Stuff like tracking user data or something.

Er, no.

"On the other hand Apple wants you it's Navigation but it still allows Garmin, Waze etc."
But, superior or not, they cannot be the defaults. Apple Maps has an uneven playing field, which grants it share it otherwise would not have on the merits of the software and data alone.

"Apple wants you to use it's email but it allows a gmail app. "
But it cannot be the default -- even though this interface would be absolutely trivial. Mail.app does not need to grow or offer the power or flexibility of a Sparrow, for example, because the iOS division will not allow Sparrow to push or sync in the background.

"To use it's browser but it allows Google's Chrome."
Nope, they let Google present a Chrome skin on top of Mobile Safari. Apple allows Google the interface shim to do the tracking you decry, but ducks competing with Google on Google's core strength -- its engine speed.

And don't get me started on awful releases like Podcasts, whose only reason for continued existence is that the music player and iTunes force it on people.

"In order to do that they sort of need to take on all comers."
Yes, they do. But your own examples show Apple's app division does not. Paul Graham quite succinctly put the danger to Apple this way back in 2011:

"An organization that wins by exercising power starts to lose the ability to win by doing better work." [ http://paulgraham.com/apple.html ]

By taking their (deservedly earned) power in the App Store and on iOS devices and using it to protect their app releases, Apple is not just hurting customers who want better choices, they are shielding some of their own apps from the competition they need to become better. That is the same sort of attitude that led Microsoft on their downward spiral when they were on top of the world.

er yes. You confuse being defualt with access to the app store. Being default isn't what's at issue in the article. The article is about rejection from the app store. it's whether they let you use it at all NOT whether they let you make it the default app. And you bring up another perfectly good example. They want you to use their podcast app but there the app store is full of podcast apps. Plus podcasts is not forced on you. You are not forced to download it from the app store. I use Downcast. I'm not forced to use the apple podcast app. So not only do you miss the point but you're factually incorrect. You're soliloquy holds no water. It misses the point. This article and the guardian article are about apple supposedly preventing the app from being in the app store at all, NOT about, making app a default.

And this article is speculative. it's nothing more then a restatement of a guardian article with no names or sources other then "inside." Utter piss poor journalism.

You miss the point completely. You state (and I agree) that Apple needs to take on all comers. But Apple emphatically does not.

They allow some competitors into the store, crippled by unknowable timetables and by restrictions their own apps do not suffer. This in turns allows their apps to get away with being worse than they would otherwise have to be in order to survive equal competition.

you miss the point. this is about one thing and one thing only: will they keep it out of the app store for nefarious reasons. default apps are irrelevant. Your statement was irrelevant.

And the point is not that they in reality need to take on everyone, it's that they want to present an image that they are the best. To do that you don't block other apps if you dont' need to. But in reality apple does take on all comers as does any phone. if you put it in the market it's against all other phones by definition.

and you ignore the fact that there are no facts or sources in this guardian article. That'd get you an F in grad school. Even Cnet rebuts this. It's pure fanboy whining. But the fact remains it's not getting blocked unless it does something stupid. But you strike me as the anti-apple type. you can't be reasoned with. that's why you're talking about default apps when the issue is access to the store.

Sigh. Ive never mentioned an out-and-out blocking of Google Maps, because it is unlikely to happen, and consequently an uninteresting discussion. Stop arguing with what you wish I said.

A far more interesting discussion to me - and a bigger long term problem for Apple - is that on iOS Apple tilts the playing field in favor of their own apps. Insulating them from full competition on iOS allows those apps to be worse than they otherwise would be, and it is my fear that iOS as a whole will suffer if the first party apps become decidedly less than best-of-breed.

I apologize profusely if this violates whatever "rules" you have in your head about what we are allowed to discuss. If you don't find it an interesting topic, fine - move on to another branch where they discuss only what you think is ok.

'"To use it's browser but it allows Google's Chrome."
Nope, they let Google present a Chrome skin on top of Mobile Safari. Apple allows Google the interface shim to do the tracking you decry, but ducks competing with Google on Google's core strength -- its engine speed.'

Double nope. It's even worse than "skinned" Safari. It's what Google calls Chrome on iOS, same as Opera Mini is Opera's. Apple doesn't allow access to their native engine, which I guess they technically have the right to. So, Safari performs better than other browsers by default. Can't even pick a different default browser without a jailbreak. I have mine jailbroken, and have an addon called Nitrous, which gives Chrome (and others afaik) direct access to the Nitro engine that Apple doesn't allow. So my Chrome is as fast as Safari on benchmarks.

"but if you use a Google Maps iOS app instead, you’re still using it on an iOS device, and Apple still wins"

Wrong, Google wins. That logic has been presented by Rene here at iMore several times, that if you use a Google product on iOS Google wins, not Apple, and he is right. Every time you use a Google product on iOS your data goes to Google, not to Apple, and Google makes money, not Apple.

That is part of the rationale behind products like Siri, which effectively isolates the user from Google.

I'm sure he meant because you still bought an iOS device and did not switch to another device to use their maps. Which means Apple still makes money. Which also means win for Apple.

I gotta admit, ever since the update for Google Search I find myself using it MUCH MORE than I use Siri for doing voice search on the web. If Apple approves Google Maps I'll most likely be using it more than Apple Maps too. Google has got a few things better set up than Apple, even though I love the iPhone.

Despite the fact that there is no good blood between Apple and Google these days, I sincerely doubt Apple would sit on Google Maps for too long. Google managed to get Chrome on the iPhone, as well as a Siri competitor, Youtube and gMail. I don't see maps getting rejected out of hand. They may take the time to hassle Google a little in the process, but in the end we will still get it.

If this pans out to be true, and that's a big if, than one could actually say that a great big windows, get it?, has been open on the big silver Apple. It has become what it's early fans and adopter hated most of their omnipotent nemesis, Microsoft. Not in every aspect but enough to be scarily uncool.

The moment Apple rejects Google Maps is the moment I sell my iphone and buy a Galaxy. Seriously, if this is Apple's future path, screw them.

True....just received my iPhone5 today. I really want google maps on this. It's going to take apple years to catch up with what google has accomplished within the last decade.....

Apple needs to make peace with Google. Google StreetView can't be beat. Apple I'll help you make peace. Just give me a call............