Report: Google fears Apple will reject Maps app for iOS


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is "not optimistic" that archrival Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will approve a dedicated Google Maps application for the iOS mobile operating system, sources within the company tell The Guardian.

Apple dumped preloaded Google services like Maps and YouTube with its recent iOS 6 update, rolling out a much-maligned mapping effort developed in-house. Although a dedicated YouTube application launched in mid-September, The Guardian reports that some Google staffers believe Apple's App Store will never greenlight a Google Maps app because of competitive friction between the two companies, adding Google is only continuing work on the project in "the unlikely event" Apple defies expectations.

One Google source believes that the pending exit of Scott Forstall, Apple's longtime senior vice president of iOS software and head of the Apple Maps platform, is cause for optimism. But another staffer says Google Maps' prospects for approval have not changed, citing industry politics as well as Apple's desire to save face and "keep moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better."

Google has not yet publicly confirmed that a Maps app for iOS is in the pipeline. Last month, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company has not taken any steps to submit a product to Apple but added that the two companies are in constant communication "at all kinds of levels." Schmidt also said that any decision on Google Maps' return to iOS or approval of a dedicated app is in Apple's hands. "We think it would have been better if they had kept ours," he said. "But what do I know? What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."

The New York Times reports Google is indeed at work on a Maps app for iOS, although it is unlikely to surface for at least several months. Sources indicate Google was blindsided by Apple's move to end their mapping relationship and did not begin work on Maps for iOS until after Apple publicly announced its own mapping service this June. In addition, Google is rumored to be readying a Google Maps with 3D imagery comparable to Apple's, but its own 3D technology exists separate from its Google Maps database as part of the Google Earth service, and combining the two will take considerable time and effort.

There is historical precedent to suggest Apple might block or at least delay Google Maps for iOS. The free Google Voice app spent more than a year in App Store submission purgatory before Apple finally approved the service in late 2010. At the same time, however, consumer demand for Google Maps for iOS appears too strong for Apple to ignore--in a public apology for the failures of the Apple Maps platform, CEO Tim Cook even suggested that iOS device owners consider "[using] Google or Nokia (NYSE:NOK) maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their Web app" or else download native mapping apps like Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing, Waze or MapQuest.

For more:
- read this Guardian article

Related articles:
Apple CEO Cook apologizes for Maps, suggests alternatives Bing, Waze
Schmidt: Google isn't planning Maps for iOS
Apple promises to improve iOS mapping service as consumer fury mounts
Apple's new iOS 6 adds deep Facebook integration, dumps Google Maps
Google launches ad-supported YouTube app for Apple's iOS