June 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM ET
Apple and Google are known to fight on occasion, so we shouldn't be surprised that the two are having a little tiff over maps right now. But let's review what's going on.
As the folks at the Wall Street Journal point out, "the iPhone and Google Maps have seemed like ideal digital bedfellows" ever since they got together in 2007. The iPhone has relied on Google Maps — the search engine giant's map service — in order to keep Apple fanboys and fangirls from getting lost in the real world.
But, based on recent reports, Apple may finally be ready to ditch Google's resources for its own. According to BGR's Jonathan Geller, iOS 6 — the next version of Apple's mobile operating system — will bring 3-D mapping features which use mapping technology developed by Apple. The Wall Street Journal explains that the Cupertino-based company may preview iOS 6 during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote on June 11.
According to current and former Apple employees who've spoken with the Wall Street Journal, "Apple has been hatching the plan to evict Google Maps from the iPhone for years." Over time, Apple has "quietly acquired at least three cutting-edge map companies, melding their technology with its own" and begun developing its own proprietary mapping service.
Google isn't standing by idly, of course. The company is holding a press event on June 6 — mere days before Apple's keynote event — during which Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Google Earth, will show off "the next dimension of Google Maps."
So why is all this back-and-forth going on in the first place? Money, of course. The Wall Street Journal explains that when people use maps on their phones, they get served a huge proportion of mobile ads, and that the location-ad slice of the pie will only get bigger. But the Journal also says that mapping is such a key part of the user experience, it would benefit Apple to differentiate by offering mapping services that Google doesn't have.
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