Is Apple Losing the Smartphone Maps War?

After what may be argued to be one of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) worst moves in the struggle against Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) competing smartphone platform, Apple’s iOS-based map app, Apple Maps, has blundered almost fatally. When the application was first offered, it was quickly and widely criticized for its many mapping anomalies — surreal-looking street images, misnamed cities, missing streets — and more recently is being criticized by Australian police in Victoria for misleading travelers into the middle of a water-less, high-temperature national park from which a fair few have had to be rescued.

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In previous versions of Apple’s iOS, Google Maps came pre-installed and was the device’s main mapping application, but with iOS 6, Apple decided to distance itself from Google, the creator of Android, and remove Google Maps from its devices. With Apple Maps flopping left and right, it raises the question: How far will Apple go to distance itself from Google? With Google Maps having 150 million users in 2011, and Apple having  a stock scare last week, Apple should be wary about actions that might alienate more users, especially as Android continues to gain in popularity.

With the battle raging on between Apple and Google, it will be a wonder to see what lessons Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will have already learned as it releases its Windows Phone 8 devices.

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