Personally I like Apple’s new maps app for the iPhone. It’s fast, responsive, and gets me where I need to go. I understand and appreciate the underlying reasons for why the Google based maps had to go (read Ripping Off The Bloody Band-Aid by MG Siegler). I also realize that not everyone is having a positive experience with Apple’s application. Having access to some iOS 5 phones I ran my own personal test between the two. If you take away the POI differences, Google’s maps feel slow and clunky.
Today Tim Cook posted a public apology for the shortcomings of Apple’s new maps app. I was surprised to see it, and it makes me love the company even more. I absolutely believe and trust that Apple is working to produce the best possible product for their customers. It actually reminds me of Google 5+ years ago when the “don’t be evil” motto actually meant something.
Google has made it a point to keep the experience on an iOS device inferior to an Android device. It’s corporate strategy to force consumer adoption of their phones. This has placed Apple in an interesting position, the company simply must de-Google itself and its products. In my opinion this has created a golden opportunity for Yahoo.
Yahoo has an excellent maps platform with years of development and data. Yahoo has an email platform with millions of users. There’s even these other things called search, travel, news, flickr, etc… But Yahoo needs to become relevant again. Some have floated bold acquisitions of properties like Pinterest to jumpstart the process. My thought is slightly different – deliver to the iOS user what Google is abandoning. Win the hearts and minds of the millions of iPhone and iPad users on this planet and it will be a very different landscape on the Internet. Change the equation, instead of Apple vs. Google (with Facebook trying to straddle the fence and Microsoft/Bing completely irrelevant), why not Apple/Yahoo vs. Google? Then throw a crazy curve ball and make your Android apps just as good.
Yahoo deliver me a good, Ad de-cluttered product and I for one will use it.