Popular public transit navigation app HopSpot dropped support for Windows Phone users this weekend, just a few days after it was acquired by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), reports Daniel Eran Dilger of Apple Insider. The app helps people find the most convenient routes using public transportation information for over 300 major cities.
Although it hasn’t given a reason for the acquisition, it seems clear that HopStop is meant to give a boost to Apple’s map services, but the reason behind dropping Windows is less obvious.
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Windows Phones represent a sliver of the smartphone market, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may simply have felt that providing support to such a small segment of users wasn’t worth the return. This view is bolstered by the fact that HopStop continues to be available to Google Android users. If the move had been motivated by a sense of cut-throat competition, it seems reasonable that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would have ended it support to its biggest competitor, not to a company that hardly seems like a threat.
But plans to cut support to Android users could be in the pipeline. Apple’s Mavericks release of OS X later this year will include its own Maps app. If the company wants to continue refining the new Maps service before then it might have decided that giving Android continued access to HopSpot for better performance data is a fair trade, but that calculation only makes sense in the run-up to this year’s release. Android users might also find themselves out in the cold once Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has finished collecting the necessary app performance data.
Apple has cut off access to other platforms before
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has restricted access to other popular programs that it has acquired in the past including Emagic in 2002 and the app search engine Chomp in 2012.
Apple’s initial attempt to offer a maps service was such a debacle that CEO Tim Cook had to publish an open letter apologizing to Apple customers. Despite the embarrassment of that incident, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) remains committed to competing in the Maps space, and has acquired a number of companies in addition to HopSpot to improve their capacity.
HopStop was founded in 2005 by Nigerian entrepreneur Chinedu Echeruo and has maintained high user ratings across all platforms prior to its acquisition last Friday,