Saturday, 22 September 2012

If Microsoft were forced to offer choice of browser, why not force Apple to offer choice of mapping?

A while ago microsoft were forced to offer choices of browser on their operating system as not doing so was anti competitive.

Now we see that mapping and all of the corresponding location data and imagery is quite important. Google clearly want Apple users to use Google maps as they get revenue from location based search and advertise. Apple want that too. Why should Apple be able to force their solution on us even on a new phone (let alone taking away Google from existing phones)?

Even with a Google maps app, if we get one (waiting for Apple to approve), it will not be in all of the map based apps that use the o/s to hook in the mapping (like FindMyFriends, etc). So Google will be disadvantaged as a mapping supplier.

Surely Apple should have to offer users a choice of underlying mapping and location services at the o/s level? Then people could choose. If Apple then make a really good service, people will switch to them, but it will have to compete on a level playing field and win users by providing the quality they want.

10 comments:

  1. The difference with the IE case is that users were entitled to install another browser, the result of the legal action was that Microsoft added a prompt so they made a choice.

    This is a whole different story, users are having their arm twisted into using a different product - Ok, they approve the google maps app but no before the large percentage of iOS6 has shipped out with their application as the default.

    It's some serious foul play by apple and a real shame the company needs to persistently use law suits and acts like this in order to gain an advantage over it's competitors.

    I'll look forward to iOS 7 with 'apple tube'. ;)

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  2. This is why I love Android - everything comes down to "Intents" - an application says "I want to send an email", and you can select which email application you want to fulfil that call. I don't use the stock SMS, email, dialer, or launcher, and I am really happy that the system is designed to allow this!

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  3. The problem with that idea though is, shouldn't android phones then be told to allow a choice of mapping software that includes apple's mapping application? Which they wouldn't be able to do.

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    1. Indeed, but I bet they would be happy to do that to be honest. Indeed, that would be a cool thing for them to try and do just to be one up on Apple.

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    2. You can install any map software you like on Android, and you can choose to then make it the default mapping application.

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  4. Five years after the iPhone launched, and the YouTube app disappears and the Maps app drops Google data. Sounds like a contract came to an end, and the lack of renewal might be as much to do with Google wanting to monetize its data as with Apple wanting to control what it ships with iOS. There seems to be a general industry-wide move away from using Google Maps. Maybe it got a lot more expensive?

    There are a loads of different mapping solutions on iOS — Google Maps works well in Safari (and one has to assume that a stand-alone app is on the way), there is a Google Earth app, and there are various off-line navigation apps like TomTom and Navigon. Users are spoilt for choice, but none of these offer equivalent functionality, so it would be hard to see how one could construct an API that would allow any of these to provide mapping facilities to the system.

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  5. Ultimately the MS browser choice issue was a completely different kettle of Fish. If Apple's OS ran on 90%+ of phones, then this might be an issue, but it doesn't.

    Whilst Apple are certainly in a powerful market position, they aren't in a dominant (50+%) market position. Ergo, they have no dominant position to abuse.

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  6. (Disclaimer: I've owned an iPhone, I think they can be great devices. I am not pro or anti-Apple, and I am just making observations, no criticising is intended)

    I can't see that an Apple user can argue about choice, the whole Apple philosophy is anti-choice (again, for better and for worse).
    Only one phone, in one size, with one gatekeeper of OS & apps, working in the way Apple designs it to. You subscribe to that philosophy when you buy Apple (it's the way Apple approaches the issue of making a stable computing platform)

    Live by the walled garden, die by the walled garden! :)

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