Apple (AAPL) Dumped Google (GOOG) Maps Over Lack Of Voice-Guided Directions, Report

Apple’s (AAPL) split with Google (GOOG) over its Maps app, that saw the iPhone maker drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Apple Maps app, was apparently caused by a dispute between the two companies over a key feature: Voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions.

That’s according to a report from All Things D, which cites “multiple sources familiar with Apple’s thinking.” Other factors contributed to the split, but navigation was the main point of disagreement that caused the rift between the tech giants, according to the report.

“[M]ultiple sources familiar with Apple’s thinking say the company felt it had no choice but to replace Google maps with its own because of a disagreement over a key feature: Voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions.

Spoken turn-by-turn navigation has been a free service offered through Google’s Android mobile OS for a few years now. But it was never part of the deal that brought Google’s maps to iOS. And Apple very much wanted it to be. Requiring iPhone users to look directly at handsets for directions and manually move through each step while Android users enjoyed native voice-guided instructions put Apple at a clear disadvantage in the mobile space. And having chosen Google as its original mapping partner, the iPhone-maker was now in a position where an arch rival was calling the shots on functionality important to the iOS maps feature set.”

Apple reportedly pushed hard to bring voice-guided navigation in Google’s maps on iOS, but Google was unwilling to give up a key competitive advantage for Android without concessions from Apple. As detailed by All Things D, Google was also seeking greater control over the Maps on the iPhone, such as Google branding within the native iOS maps app, and Google Latitude integration.

Apple was unwilling to make these concessions, the report says, hence the decision to part ways.

Combined with the deterioration of the overall shaky Apple-Google relationship, which has now escalated into a full-fledged rivalry, and Apple’s concerns that Google was gathering too much user data from iOS users, the iPhone maker decided to fast-track the development of an in-house maps app in order to bring its own turn-by-turn directions to the new iPhone.

“There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest,” one source familiar with Apple and Google’s negotiations told AllThingsD. “Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker.”

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