Google Maps is rapidly losing market share to Apple Maps, especially among iPhone users. According to the latest data from research firm ComScore, there are 58.7 million Google Maps users and 35 million Apple Maps users in the U.S. as of September 2013. ComScore says Google Maps has lost 23 million iPhone users over the past 12 months.
In September 2012 when Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) AAPL +1.36% unveiled its mapping app, there were 81.1 million Google Maps user among all the 103.6 million iPhone and Android users. One year later, though the number of iPhone and Android users rose to 136.7 million, the total number of Google Maps users fell to 58.7 million. While Google Maps has 43% market share, Apple Maps is used by more than 25% people. ComScore doesn’t count uses on BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices because they account for less than 10% of the U.S. smartphone users.
That clearly indicates that Apple Maps is a hit among the iPhone and iPad users. When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled the app with iOS 6 in September 2012, it was full of multiple errors. That turned out to be a PR fiasco for Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Cupertino-based company’s CEO Tim Cook apologized publicly for the blunder and fired the maps team head Richard Williamson immediately. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) AAPL +1.36% didn’t give up. Instead, it continued to fix the errors and improve its mapping app.
It all began in 2009, when Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) refused to offer turn-by-turn navigation for maps on the iPhone. This feature is very useful to car drivers, and Google Inc. was providing it on Android. Moreover, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was collecting more data from iPhone users through its Latitude product. So, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) decided to develop its own mapping app. Apple Maps’ only weakness is that it’s available only on Apple devices.
Mapping is an important area for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) GOOG +1.03% as well as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) for monitoring real-time road traffic, location-based user data and advertising revenues. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is diversifying its advertising income stream by pushing ads in its maps.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) GOOG +1.03% shares changed hands at $1,012 in pre-market trading.