Why did Apple decide to drop Google Maps from iOS 6 in favor of its own half-baked application, with more than a year left on the contract with Google? According to sources who spoke with AllThingsD, the straw that broke the camel's back was voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions.
These sources say that Apple felt that it had no choice in the matter, because Google wanted to exert too much control over the direction of the maps functionality in iOS. Voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation has been a free feature the Google Android platform for a few years, but the feature was not included in the deal between Apple and Google wherein Google provided iPhones with its mapping data.
Though Apple allegedly tried to get voice navigation into its iOS Maps app, Google wasn't willing to give up its competitive advantage easily. Apple, in turn, wasn't willing to make the concessions Google desired, such as in-app branding and integrating Google Latitude. As the relationship between the two giants broke down for various other reasons, the disagreement over voice navigation became the catalyst for Apple's decision.
"There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest," a source said to AllThingsD. "Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker."
The result is Apple's new Maps app in iOS 6, seemingly rushed out the door in an incomplete state. And while it appears that Apple came out worse in this ordeal, Google didn't come out entirely ahead either, as losing over a hundred million devices to its rival surely isn't a positive outcome. Of course, Google is now working on an iOS maps app alternative, and Apple is feeling the pressure to improve its own solution. Who ultimately comes out ahead remains to be decided.