Given its humiliating climb down last week when Apple reluctantly allowed Google Maps to make its iOS 6 debut, we could be forgiven for thinking that the company had thrown in the towel in the “Maps Wars”. Not so.
While the all the signs were pointing to Apple’s apparent capitulation, senior vice president Eddie Cue has secretly been soliciting support, sounding out an alliance with social network FourSquare in a bid to bolster its own dismal maps app.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cue recently met up with FourSquare chiefs to discuss a deal that would allow Apple to make use of FourSquare’s vast database of locations and business listings.
There’s no suggestion that Apple is looking to acquire FourSquare; indeed, the company has previously held discussions with map makers including TomTom to see if anyone can help improve its own offering, and so there’s no reason to think their cooperation with FourSquare will be any different.
Apple is in dire need of assistance though, following a tidal wave of negative publicity following the release of Apple Maps back in September. Three months later, and with no major improvement in sight, the application continues to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the latest being when Australian police warned that it was so bad that it could ‘risk users lives’ by directing them into the middle of a desert.
If a deal goes ahead, Apple Maps would clearly benefit from the vast number of business listings that FourSquare possesses, and hopefully the move would also improve the accuracy of its current data. Apple claims to have more than 100 listings of its own, but as we know all too well from experience, making sense of this data can be somewhat troublesome.
But even if FourSquare does help Apple to vastly improve its maps, it faces an uphill struggle to overhaul Google. Since its launch last week, it has already become the mapping solution of choice for millions of iOS devotees, and it’s difficult to see why these would migrate from Google’s near-perfect offering.
One crucial advantage that FourSquare offers is that it’s generally considered to have some of the best location-based technology around, and this could prove tempting to some users if it was made exclusive to iOS.
Let us know what you think about this potential move by Apple in the comments section below.