Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook
(Bloomberg) Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook apologized for the iPhone mapping software released last week that has been criticized for flaws such as misrouted directions and inaccurately located landmarks.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook said in a letter to customers posted today on the Cupertino, California-based company’s website.
Apple’s decision to build its navigation application reflects a widening rift with Google Inc. (GOOG), which had provided its Google Maps program since the iPhone debuted in 2007. While the new software adds features such as turn-by-turn navigation, it is widely faulted for distorted images, directions that get users lost and a lack of public transit routes.
“An apology is never bad,” Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group in Boston, said in an interview. “But notice they didn’t say that they are going to reinstate Google Maps. There is no impact, there is no change in philosophy or direction.”
Apple’s mapping application was released as part of the new iOS 6 software, which runs the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Cook said that the feature will improve as the company collects more data. In the meantime, he said people who are frustrated with the experience could download mapping applications such as Microsoft Corp.’s Bing, Waze and MapQuest from the company’s App Store. He said customers also could use the iPhone’s Internet browser to use Google’s mapping application.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said on Sept. 25 that Apple should have stuck with Google Maps. “It would have been better if they had kept ours,” Schmidt said at a press event in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”
Nate Tyler, a spokesman for Google, didn’t have an immediate comment. The company hasn’t submitted a mapping app to Apple for the approval needed for it to appear in the App Store, a person familiar with the matter said on Sept. 25.
Google has been building out its online mapping software since 2005, accumulating data that helps improve its accuracy and reliability. Similarly, Apple can use location data collected from customers using its maps to improve the service. Apple’s map software includes an feedback feature for users to report inaccurate directions and other bugs.
“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers,” Cook said. “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment.”