Apple’s Apology Boosts These Competitors

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After Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook apologized on Friday for prematurely launching a new map app for iOS, even suggesting that customers experiencing difficulties with the new product try using competing platforms, would-be rivals of Apple’s map app are reporting steep jumps in their popularity, boosting shares in Monday trading.

Waze, an app that provides maps, turn-by-turn navigation, and traffic data served 40 percent more downloads than usual last Friday, when Tim Cook’s letter of apology was published, a spokesperson told Technology Review. On Saturday, Waze downloads were up 80 percent more than usual.

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In his letter, Tim Cook suggested dissatisfied iOS users turn to MapQuest, a mapping service owned by AOL (NYSE:AOL). Consequently, downloads of MapQuest’s iOS app jumped, pushing it from “between 60 and 80″ on the iTunes charts, to number 19, according to a company spokesperson. AOL shares were up 0.43 percent at close of regular trading on Monday.

Cook also recommended Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing app, though figures related to recent downloads and usage aren’t available, as well as online maps services from Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and, most notably, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which had been providing mapping services to iOS users for years when last month Apple cut its ties with the company, also removing its YouTube app with the iOS 6 update.

Google has perhaps been the biggest beneficiary of Apple’s misstep, not only because Tim Cook, whose press releases are widely read, essentially told the world that Google’s map services are superior to Apple’s, but because Google is the company behind Android, the world’s most popular smartphone operating system and Apple’s biggest competitor in the space. Android phones produced by companies like Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and HTC come pre-installed with a Google-powered map app, a fact that in the past wasn’t a selling point for the phones as Apple, too, offered a Google-powered map app, but which now gives Android a leg-up on iOS devices.

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