Monday, November 05, 2012

Will Apple Approve A Google Maps For iOS App?

Undoubtedly Apple has become well known for the tight control they exhibit over the Apple App store. Since the launch of the App Store they've been known to disallow or remove apps for 'questionable material' or distasteful content. In the past they've even been know to reject apps like Google voice for duplicate function. So its no wonder that developers show a bit of concern when they develop new applications for iOS.

Today the web was crawling with reports that Google is working on a downloadable Google Maps app design specifically for iOS. However, that wasn't what made headlines. The report indicated that Google insiders have concerns that all their hard work will be for nothing as they are doubtful that their app will be approved by Apple.

"Sources at Google familiar with its mapping plans say they are 'not optimistic' that Apple will ever approve a dedicated Google Maps iOS app," the Guardian wrote. "Though the app is reportedly in development and should be ready to ship by the end of the year, the sources say their plans are only proceeding in 'the unlikely event' that Apple will choose to approve the app."

This report sparked a wave of reactions:

"This screams of shadiness on Apple's part, if the report is true," says IntoMobile.

"It might be a long time before we see a native Google Maps app on iOS," warns Business Insider.

"Though it hasn't publicly stated its plans, Google has apparently been working on its own mapping app for iOS since this summer and plans to have it ready to ship before the end of the year. However, inside the company there's little hope for Apple approval. Instead, Apple is expected to "keep moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better," and "save face" with the public" Via ArsTechnica

"Apple unlikely to approve Google Maps app for iOS, report says." Via Cnet

Google's concerns may well be valid, but then again aren't every developers? Apple's history shows that any developer should be worried about the ever-changing standards for what qualifies for App Store hosting. In the past developers have had apps that they were selling for years suddenly yanked from the store over some sudden change of heart -- and it happens all the time. So yes Google should be concerned!

Now many Apple supporters want to point out that Apple has allowed a YouTube app and that Apple CEO Tim Cook went out of his way to recommend competitors when there was a negative reaction to the company's launch of iOS 6 and their own Apple Maps project. In his open letter of apology to iOS 6 users, Cook clearly recommend competitors though it should be noted that he mentions using the 'less inferior' website based versions.

Does this mean he left the door open to a competing product? Certainly not! Apple has been trying everything it can to cut ties with Google. This is part of the reason they dropped the use of Google Maps to begin with.

So will Apple approve A Google Maps for iOS App? Personally at this point I don't think Apple can afford not to. Both Google and Apple are being very closely scrutinized over possible anti-competitive maneuvers and anti-trust concerns. Apple blocking Google Apps could leave the door open to even more scrutiny that I'm sure they don't want right now.

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