To suggest that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) "lost the plot" last year when they introduced Maps, would be to risk gross understatement. It was a debacle at best, and for those that upgraded their iOS they were stuck with it until Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was able to step into the breach a few months later. I, for one, use navigation services regularly, but after using Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s Maps once I was without one until Google came to the rescue.
Following the WWDC sonvention this week, there is reason to believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has begun to right its ship beginning with the announcement that their new OS X "Mavericks" will have a native Maps application that will allow Mac users to send maps to mobile devices among other upgrades to Maps on iOS. It was imperative that they do something, and it was refreshing to see that they have—unfortunately the upgrade will not be available until fall. Better late than never.
Google Moving Forward with Mapping Applications
At the same time, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to move forward with its mapping applications. Earlier this week, Google announced the acquisition of Waze, an Israeli crowd-sourced mapping application that helps users find the best route to their destination by calling on the millions of users in 190 countries to keep others abreast of traffic and cheap gas prices.
For many, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)'s rumored splashing of $1.1-1.3 billion in cash seemed excessive given that Google already provides many of these features; but it's clear that Google had no interest in watching Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) snatch the company up and possibly threaten its supremacy in navigation.
While Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is still awaiting regulatory approval of the acquisition, it's difficult to see any reason that it wouldn't go through without a hitch. Google has yet to have any of its over 200 acquisitions blocked and most of those were related to search which Google dominates, yet, weren't deemed in violation of anti-trust legislation. Thanks to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s entry into navigation, Google shouldn't expect any holdup.
If Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) didn't have so much money, it might be difficult to understand this acquisition.
Marcus Thielking, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Skobbler, a German geolocation app maker that uses the OpenStreetMap platform, agreed. "For anybody [else] out there, Waze would have been a good buy," he said. "But for Google? Google is so much more advanced, in all these things."
To use a sporting analogy, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is simply buying players like Real Madrid, Manchester United, or Chelsea. Each team has been happy to buy and bench great players to simply keep them from playing against them in the future.