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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Back in September, after Apple released iOS 6 with Apple Maps, I suggested in an artcle that the fiasco was indicative of a lack of understanding of what it takes to do an Internet mapping application well and that Apple should acquire TomTom, it's mapping data provider. Since that time, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, fired Richard Williamson who oversaw the mapping team.

Now comes word that another analyst thinks Apple should make the move to acquire TomTom as well. Maybe it's a reaction to today's release of Google Maps for iOS 6 or maybe it's just common sense. Evan Niu of The Motley Fook writing in AOL's Daily Finance, quotes Hans Slob of Rabobank who says there is a 30% chance of Apple making a bid for TomTom. Slob is quoted as telling investors that "TomTom needs the cash and Apple needs the mapping data to supplement their own Maps iOS app." This is the same argument I made as well.

But Niu doesn't think the fit is right for Apple. He argues that Apple typically buys companies with technology that can be integrated with its products and that TomTom is but one of many data suppliers. He goes on to say that

Growing revenue has never been the goal of an Apple acquisition. In fact, Apple usually scales down the business operations of acquisitions as it focuses on the parts it wants, which is another reason why it goes for smaller companies, since their revenues are rounding errors within Apple's consolidated results and no one would notice their absence. TomTom's full-year guidance is targeting $1.4 billion in revenue for 2012. TomTom's business has four operating divisions, including partnerships with automakers as well as the stand-alone GPS units it still sells. Hardware sales were 62% of sales last quarter. These aren't businesses that Apple wants to buy and then shutter.

So, in Niu's opinion, Apple won't make TomTom its next acquisition.

by Joe Francica on 12/13 at 08:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I learned that NORAD Santa is changing map platform providers via Pocket Lint and confirmed it in the Norad Santa partners list. Google is not listed but Microsoft, Bing Maps and Azure are! There's also a Windows Phone app this year.

Why the change?

The Seattle Times reports that while Microsoft confirms the new partnship, which replaces Google who had the gig since 2007, NORAD provided no reason for the change.

Search Engine Land provides an official NORAD statement:

Google supported NTS [NORAD Tracks Santa] from 2007-2011 and helped increase NTS program awareness across the globe; NORAD is grateful for the partnership and the resulting success.  This year, NTS and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions, and we are excited to welcome a number of new contributors, to include Microsoft, Windows Azure, Bing, and iLink-systems, among others, to help us in our mission of tracking Santa.  The ability to work with a diverse team of contributors is fundamental to the NTS mission, and we appreciate all of the continued support of all contributors.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/13 at 06:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Next week Joe Francica and I will review our predictions from Dec 2011 and see how well we anticipated what occurred in the geospatial arena in 2012. We'll also share our predictions for 2013, as has become a tradition on the Directions on the News podcast.

We invite readers to share their predictions (conservative, wacky or otherwise) in the comments below or via e-mail (see conact info) by Monday 9 am EST. We'll share interesting ones on the podcast to be publishd next Tuesday.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/13 at 06:30 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Yes, it's here: Google Map for iOS. It's in the Apple App Store. Who gets it?

The new Google Maps app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Please note some of the features mentioned in this post aren’t available in all countries.

And, Google took the time to reintroduce it and tout its mapping superiority over others, but mostly Apple:

At the heart of this app is our constantly improving map of the world that includes detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest. 

Also touted: indoor imagery for businesses, turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic conditions, public transportation, feedback tool.  Video after the break.

- Google Blog

Also announced is a solution for developers:

the Google Maps SDK for iOS, and a simple URL scheme to help developers use Google Maps when building their beautiful and innovative apps. 

The idea is to give developers something other than Apple Maps, though of course others have offered that for a while, including Esri. From the blog post, though, API keys are not for everyone. You have to apply for one and tell Google about the app and yourself.

The URL scheme seems to be a simple way to call the Google Maps App and show query results.

Any iOS app can also launch the Google Maps for iPhone app using a URL scheme. This allows Google Maps for iPhone to be launched to complete a search, show a map or Street View imagery, or to see and navigate walking, driving and transit directions easily. 

- Google Geo Developers Blog

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/13 at 05:24 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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