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Once close partners, the relationship between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has soured as the two increasingly compete in the same industries. The latest point of major contention between the two technology biggies is mobile mapping technology. Sometime this year, Apple, which for years has relied on Google Maps as its in-built navigation technology for the iPhone and the iPad, is expected to launch its own mapping app.
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The company could even preview the new software next week at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. If it launches the new technology, Apple will undoubtedly encourage app developers to embed its maps inside their applications like social-networking and search services.
Apple has been planning this map attack on Google for years, having bought three different companies for their proprietary mapping software and spending a considerable amount of energy of its own on the development. Its efforts gathered speed as Google launched its Android mobile software, and phones based on the operating systems began overtaking the iPhone in shipments. Google, which has now also entered the hardware business directly by buying Motorola Mobility, and Apple have also been bickering in courts after suing each other over allegedly violated patents.
Google Maps is now used by more than 90 percent of U.S. iPhone users. Apple, then, believes that controlling the mapping experience can possibly help sell more devices and get developers to build unique apps.
Mobile ads associated with maps or locations make up 25 percent of the $2.5 billion spent on mobile ads in 2012, according to Opus Research. Apple’s switch will mean that Google will lose out on precious data about what local businesses people are searching for and, in the long term, lose out on this revenue. Word is that Apple is also trying to wean iPhone users away from using traditional web search on its phones through features such as the Siri personal assistant. Eventually, Apple would want to develop technology that integrates maps with other Apple software such as the iCalendar program.
“Apple is aiming squarely at Google on multiple dimensions” Rutberg & Co.’s Rajeev Chand told WSJ. “Google and Apple are in a battle over data, devices, services, and the future of computing. This is the historic battle of today.”
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