Wall Street Journal confirms Apple dumping Google Maps

Apple is planning to replace Google Maps as the default maps app in iOS with its own in-house technology, according to current and former Apple employees and reported by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal's report follows rumors that the change was impending.

The formerly symbiotic relationship - with Google's technology powering one of the integral features of Apple's smartphones, which in turn drove large amounts of traffic to Google's search engine - is about to come to an end later this year, and the official announcement could come as soon as next week at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, who were not named, the plan to replace Google Maps in iOS has been in the works for years, and the plan was accelerated when shipments of Android smartphones began to overtake shipments of the iPhone.

Apple has bought at least three map companies with cutting edge technologies, starting in 2009 with PlaceBase, a company that created an API for combining various types of data and location information. In 2010, Apple bought Poly9, which specialized in mapping visualization technology. And in 2011, Apple acquired C3 Technologies, a company that developed automated 3D mapping algorithms and was in the process of building a database of 3D maps of the entire globe.

Data from Opus Research shows that an estimated 25% of the approximately $2.5 billion spent on mobile ads in 2012 will be spent on ads associated with maps or locations. The portion of locational ads in 2010 was only 10%, and the figure is expected to continue growing as the number of location-aware apps increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 90% of iPhone owners use Google Maps, so the incentive to shift that userbase to an in-house solution is readily apparent.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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