According to the market research company ComScore,
) Maps had 81 million mobile users in September of 2012, with as
many as 35 million of them accessing the maps app via an
) iPhone. This was right around the time that Apple launched its
own, buggy Apple Maps. The app was so bad and filled with
that Scott Forstall, Senior of Vice President of iOS Software at
the company, quit after pressure he faced for refusing to sign an
apology. Instead, CEO Tim Cook made a public apology for the app's
initial failings. Later, Richard Williamson, the head of the Apple
Maps team, was fired.
Now, it appears the tables have turned: According to a
from ComScore, 35 million iPhone owners used Apple Maps during
September 2013 while only 6.3 million iOS users still used Google
Maps. In September 2013, Google Maps was the preferred map app of
58.7 million Android and Apple users, down from 81 million just one
year ago. This represents a shift from 78% of all Android and iOS
users on Google Maps to 43% in only one year. This loss of 22.3
million total users of mobile Google Maps is primarily an effect of
iOS users sticking with the app native to their iPhones, even after
last year's disastrous rollout.
parody of a famous cover of
The New Yorker
, lampooning how inaccurate Apple Maps was.
ComScore's report found that Apple users generally have more
interaction with maps than Android users, with 9.7 million iPhones
accessing Apple Maps every day, compared to the 7.2 million that
access Google Maps for Android. iOS users spend 75.5 minutes per
month in mapping apps compared to 56.2 for Android users.
Both companies have invested in acquiring new mapping technology
lately and not surprisingly, Apple leads in this regard as well.
Since July of this year, Apple has acquired three mapping
companies, crowd-sourced location data company Locationary, city
transit guide HopStop.com, and mass transit mapping app Embark, as
well as the indoor location startup WiFiSLAM, which will help users
navigate buildings. Meanwhile, Google has acquired one such
company, Waze, an Israeli GPS-based navigation app that uses
crowd-sourced data to provide travel times and optimized routes.
Because of fixes to Apple's once bug-ridden Apple Maps, aggressive
acquisitions, and innovations such as
, which gives users a compelling visualization to pair with their
navigation needs, Apple's map app has taken about 80% of Google
Maps' iOS traffic in just one year. Granted, Google Maps is still
the leader by volume, since Android is the world's most-used mobile
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Editor's Note: This story was ammended to reflect that Scott
Forstall was not fired, but quit the company.