Yes there is, but it’s not what you think or what you’ve gleaned from the headlines which blasted Apple for kicking out Google Maps in favor of what many thought was a lesser maps app.
The Cook Doctrine
Maps are hard. Google’s been doing it for many years and still Google Maps display outdated information on locations and lead users astray from time to time.
Apple Maps, though rapidly improving, has a similar problem with accuracy. Why? Maps are hard. The world is changing by the minute and that makes it a challenge to keep up with location and geographic changes.
Apple dumped Google’s Maps data (the app was actually Apple’s app) because Google gave Apple an inferior product by keeping certain features for itself on Android smartphones.
If you were running Apple would you want an inferior version of a popular and critical app to grace the iPhone?
Of course not. Apple did what was necessary and built Apple Maps, an app that despite some problems, was superior in many ways to the data found on the old Google Maps app.
Of course, it didn’t take long for Google to recognize the need for a full fledged Google Maps app on iOS devices, so, in the end it was win win for everyone. Except Google, of course, which continues to lose iOS maps users to Apple Maps.
Why did all this have to happen? The Cook Doctrine. From the January, 2009 earnings call, acting CEO Tim Cook aptly described Apple’s approach to business.
We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.
We’re constantly focusing on innovating.
We believe in the simple, not the complex.
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
That sounds pretty much like Apple, right?
We can argue the merits of Cook’s phrase ‘We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company,’ though. iCloud could stand some improvements. iOS 7’s flatter and minimalist design suffers in a number of areas, but you get the general idea.
The real problem with Apple Maps is that it wasn’t Apple’s maps. It was Google’s. That had to end.
Apple wants to control as much of the overall user experience as possible, unifying that experience in a near seamless manner between devices. With Google’s Android on 80-percent of the world’s smartphones, and iOS approach the low end of double digits, it appears that Apple is reliving the Microsoft wars all over again.
While Microsoft’s Windows won the marketshare wars, Apple’s Mac went on to take about 50-percent of the entire PC industry’s profits. So much for losing, right? The same holds true for iPhone and iPad. Marketshare is unimportant to Apple. Profit share is important, and again, in mobile devices, Apple rules.