Google Inc has made no move to provide Google Maps for the iPhone 5 after Apple Inc dropped the application in favor of a home-grown but controversial alternative, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said.
“We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?” Schmidt told a small group of reporters in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”
Schmidt said Google and Apple were in constant communication “at all kinds of levels.” But he said any decision on whether Google Maps would be accepted as an application in the Apple App Store would have to be made by Apple.
The article, which was culled from comments made by Schmidt while in Japan promoting the Nexus 7 tablet there, stated that he also wasn’t sure if Google and Apple would remain partners in search. Considering Apple’s moves toward being a search option that is a legitimate concern.
Schmidt said he hoped Google would remain Apple’s search partner on the iPhone but said that question was up to Apple.
“I’m not doing any predictions. We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I’m not going to speculate at all what they’re going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit,” he said.
In the end though it looks as if Google is going to try to shift this scuffle to something that is not an Apple vs. Google question directly but rather an iOS vs. Android issue. Schmidt had some definitive if not somewhat defensive words to say about that matter.
“Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher,” Schmidt said, adding that success was often ignored by the media, which he said was “obsessed with Apple’s marketing events and Apple’s branding.”
“That’s great for Apple but the numbers are on our side,” he said.
In Apple’s defense, many are starting to downplay the severity of the Apple Maps issue including Mac co-founder Steve Wozniak. Getting out in front of the unfamiliar wave of harsh criticism about anything that Apple has produced is critical for the company.
No matter what the real depth of the Apple Maps issue is, this is a rare opportunity indeed for Google to jab at an exposed weak spot of the otherwise fortress-like Apple. Apple manages to fly above all the talk of market tactics that some would deem heavy-handed or even monopolistic. Google, who is currently in regulator crosshairs worldwide, can’t turn around without another claim flying at them. If Google wants to shift the attention off itself and get people focused on Apple and their practices there may not be another opportunity like this one for some time to come.
How are you viewing this latest dust up with these Internet giants? Do you care? Are you swayed from one side to the other in either direction?
Would love to get your take in the comments.