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Apple Axes Head of Mapping Team

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the openstreetmaps-for-all dept.

Businesses 372

New submitter drkim writes "'Apple has reportedly fired the head of its mapping team following software glitches which annoyed customers and rained mockery on the company.' Mr. Williamson promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica, and walked to his home in Middelfart, Denmark." Nerval's Lobster adds: "Cue is also 'seeking advice from outside map-technology experts' as well as 'prodding maps provider TomTom to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.'"

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372 comments

Was it justified (5, Insightful)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#42118827)

Was this guy setup for failure by having to meeting google map standards overnight?

Firing people sometimes is an escape goat for companies mistakes.

Re:Was it justified (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118915)

Scapegoats are not escaped goats, dimwit.

Re:Was it justified (5, Funny)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#42119127)

Thanks. I'm French and honestly didn't know. Scapegoat looks better on paper :)

Re:Was it justified (3, Interesting)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | about a year ago | (#42119231)

FWIW, Scape goat is a pretty old term. I believe it originated with the Greeks who had a ritual where everybody in a town would symbolically add all their troubles onto the back of a literal goat. This goat was then either driven out of town, or sacrificed to the gods, taking the people's trouble with it.

Re:Was it justified (5, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#42119357)

No, scapegoat did not start with the Greeks. Scapegoat comes from the book of Leviticus where a goat was designated to be cast out into the desert as part of atonement for sins. The Greeks actually used a cripple, a beggar or a criminal for the practice you are thinking of, not a goat.

Re:Was it justified (2)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#42119677)

No, it all started when a manager needed a patsy to take the blame for all the Goatse images in his browser cache.

Re:Was it justified (4, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#42119789)

Alternative source: a "scapegoat" was a hobbled goat left with a flock of sheep. As the (less valuable) goat couldn't run it would be taken down by an attacking wolf, leaving the more valuable livestock to escape.

Re:Was it justified (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42119657)

"My problem is they are using my goat for this. Again. The preists say they're going to pay me back, but I notice they put 'Pay back Argous for this goat' on my goat. I suspect they're going to blame the Gods. Again. And they eat the goat afterward. They're getting a free goat barbecue and not even inviting me to it."

Re:Was it justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119343)

The Pontiac GTO [wikipedia.org], often referred to as the "Goat" would make a very nice escape goat. :-)

Re:Was it justified (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42119469)

Scapegoats are not escaped goats, dimwit.

Except that when they actually are goats and when they are actually let to escape from you, right? (Now you see why these Judeo-Christian blurbs have never made any sense to me. The whole thing makes about as much sense as the rest of Leviticus.)

Re:Was it justified (3, Interesting)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42119617)

Actually, a lot of Leviticus makes sense from the viewpoint of a manual on HOW to live a healthy life given the knowledge and conditions of the time. Unfortunately, there's never an attempt at explaining WHY. haha, most people nowadays know so little about keeping healthy that they can't see the wisdom in the words.

Re:Was it justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119527)

Mod informative. Lighten up, assholes.

Re:Was it justified (4, Funny)

dintech (998802) | about a year ago | (#42118917)

Mr. Williamson promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica, and walked to his home in Middelfart, Denmark.

10,000 miles on Google Maps, just 2 or three on Apple Maps...

"promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118965)

promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica

Antarctica, I lol'd.

Re:Was it justified (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118941)

There's an escaped goat on the Apple campus?

Re:Was it justified (5, Funny)

tomknight (190939) | about a year ago | (#42118963)

An escape goat? Is that the opposite of a Trojan horse?

Re:Was it justified (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42119173)

It's actually what Albanians use as life preservers on boats cuz they can't actually afford real life preservers. They actually did throw him off a boat in the middle of the Baltic Sea in the middle of Oklahoma, thus making him the "escape goat."

Re:Was it justified (2)

fred911 (83970) | about a year ago | (#42119661)

ÂAn escape goat? Is that the opposite of a Trojan horse?Â

No silly... It is what all the hip youngsters use to refer to a site their parents told them about called goatse.cx

Re:Was it justified (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119025)

> escape goat

best be trollin, ngr

Escape goat to the rescue! (Re:Was it justified) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119073)

Escape goat to the rescue!

I kind of like it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119757)

KYM [knowyourmeme.com] doesn't confirm it, but it appears [google.com] that escape goat [google.com] is a nascent meme.

Re:Was it justified (5, Interesting)

Edgewize (262271) | about a year ago | (#42119123)

No. Failing to deliver a quality product isn't the problem. The problem is if you promise to deliver a quality product, and then you fail.

It seems to me like Apple wouldn't have made the switch right away on iOS 6 if they weren't confident that the software was ready. Someone had to stand up and say, "This is ready" or "This is not ready". If Mr. Williamson was in charge of it, and he told his bosses with confidence that it was ready, he should be fired. That's pretty straightforward.

Re:Was it justified (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119335)

Clearly you've never worked for a large company before.
It wouldn't surprise me if he said over and over again "There's no way in hell this is ready", but they deployed it anyway.
They probably also asked him "does it work at all?" to which he responded "sort of", and that was enough for them.
That's how big companies work, they don't give a damn about your input.

Re:Was it justified (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#42119537)

You almost have it right. They certainly do ignore the worker bees who shout "it won't work", but they don't ignore management saying the same thing. Instead, people who never say "it won't work" slowly get promoted over people who do, and you end up with no one in management who will ever say "it won't work".

I'm quite certain that this Mr. Williamson probably didn't say no to his bosses very often, and I don't particularly feel bad for him.

Re:Was it justified (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42119637)

And that's the question.

Did they fire a guy who lied to his bosses about the state of his product? (And remember, Steve Jobs, much as I loathe him, would have done a demonstration with this app on stage, it would have gone through a ringer of testing for the man with the kool-aid to talk about, so there's a change in testing procedure here). That would be strongly legitimate grounds to be rid of someone.

Or did they fire him because they screwed up, and want someone to blame?

Or did they just want rid of him for whatever reason, and this seemed like as good an excuse as any?

Re:Was it justified (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#42119663)

I question whether it is even possible for something complex to become "Ready" entirely in-house, for release 1.0. I think the only way to do it is a protracted beta release. But would google have tolerated training its own replacement, as it were? If so, at what cost?

Re:Was it justified (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#42119755)

I don't know, it sounds more likely to me that it went
"Rich, are the maps ready?"

"What? No, we haven't finished testing."

"Well, we told Google to fuck off this morning, so it's ready. Don't worry, I'll make sure everyone who matters knows that it went out too soon."

(That afternoon in boardroom)

"Yeah, Williamson assured me the maps were ready to go, so we told Google we weren't interested. My stock options just got a little sweeter."

Re:Was it justified (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42119143)

Making stupid, impossible to execute decisions and then having everyone under you fail to do them properly is definitely the way Apple has done business in the last couple years. That or refusing to properly fund the department despite record profits.

Re:Was it justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119177)

Was this guy setup for failure by having to meeting google map standards overnight?

No, it was for failing to meet the standards of getting directions from a stoner at a gas station or a drunk hick at a roadside bait shop. The fact that they HAD good mapping from Google before simply made it more noticeable.

Re:Was it justified (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42119237)

The real idiocy here was the fact that there was some idiot executive that insisted that the wheel be reinvented. They let hatered of Google get in the way of day-to-day business here. They could of made sure the google maps were easy to use on their devices and spent the effort coming up with something that Android doesn't do instead.

They should be firing the person that a "mapping team" was a good idea to begin with.

Re:Was it justified (3, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#42119315)

The real idiocy here was the fact that there was some idiot executive that insisted that the wheel be reinvented. They let hatered of Google get in the way of day-to-day business here. They could of made sure the google maps were easy to use on their devices and spent the effort coming up with something that Android doesn't do instead.

They had no control over the maps app from google, nor on google's terms for use of google's maps API. There was no way to get key features (turn-by-turn directions) without meeting google's demands (for more user data).

Re:Was it justified (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119709)

Google offered to do turn by turn navigation for the inclusion of google branding. I don't think it's unreasonable to be expected to give credit to a company who's product is contributing one of the most useful software features to your phone. Apple is just trying to position themselves to defeat Android. It's too late, and they've come to a desperate point where they're trying to do things they aren't currently capable of.

Re:Was it justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119751)

...without meeting google's demands (for more user data).

How do you know this?

Re:Was it justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119719)

They should be firing the person that a "mapping team" was a good idea to begin with.

Kind of hard to fire someone that's dead, but remains the cult's leader.

Re:Was it justified (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#42119499)

My thoughts exactly except the term is scapegoat.

However it may have been due to poor management on his part though. Developers coming with good concerns and he wasn't taking them into consideration, or bringing them to the right level, because he was too afraid to tell his bosses bad news.

It could also be that there is a disagreement on the design. And after one was chosen he didn't work hard to make it succeed. I have seen this a lot in IT. I disagree with your methodology, so I will follow it, however will not do anything extra to make it succeed so when it fails I told you so.

he might be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119641)

Maybe he was an escape goat but I still wanna know what question Apple axed him?

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118837)

Apple should do some major Google ass kissing before it's too late.

Re:Here's an idea (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#42119321)

It's already too late. Oh and by the way, Samsung called with the new price list for next year's parts...

Re:Here's an idea (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#42119565)

Microsoft has been trying to kill Google for years. Ain't gonna happen. Google will only die when it gets fat and complacent, and when technology changes such that they don't need Google as much anymore.

AND WHAT OF ALFREDO GARCIA ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118843)

What of his head ??

Re:AND WHAT OF ALFREDO GARCIA ?? (0)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#42119559)

I'm more concerned that he walked from Antarctica to Denmark, what other superhuman feats can he perform?
And since when did they relocate the headquarters to Antarctica anyway?

Fired? (1, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | about a year ago | (#42118845)

If Jobs was alive, the guy would've been shot at dawn and his family billed for the bullet.

Re:Fired? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42119077)

If Jobs was alive, the guy would've been shot at dawn and his family billed for the bullet.

At least they wouldn't have to dig out the (dusted) building plan to include it in his severance package. You know, so that he would find his way out.

so (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118869)

so apple maps finally told someone, how to go, somewhere ?

Lessons (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118875)

The executive failed to deliver the impossible: a complete mapping system built from the ground up in a year or so. The result is that he gets sacked.

The solution: Apple needs to stop picking fights. I'm sure Google would have given them the full turn-by-turn system if Apple would have paid for it. Apple has great hardware and software engineers. But they aren't good enough to replicate the technology its competitor has spent over a decade developing in just one year.

Re:Lessons (5, Interesting)

MachDelta (704883) | about a year ago | (#42119209)

Apple shot themselves in the foot on this.

Option A) was to negotiate with Google (which they did) and accept paying more money and letting Google put their logo somewhere (which they didn't).

Option B) was to to let it ride with no navigation (their contract with Google for just map data still had a year or two left before renewal) and work on their own map/nav system in the meantime, launching it when it was ready or the contract was up.

Option C) was to abandon common sense, drop Google because they are evil, and quickly roll their own "superior" map/nav system on a greatly accelerated timespan. And pray that it's not a horrible, brand-damaging mess. Oops!

You forgot option D (5, Interesting)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#42119747)

Option D: They could have straight forward have bought Tom Tom and use their application. TomTom's own devices that use the same map information had no trouble navigating where Apple was leading you nowhere. At the current share price it would be affordable for Apple to buy it and it would buy them an entrance into the dashboard of several large brands, that are already using built-in TomTom navigation devices.

Re:Lessons (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#42119245)

The executive failed to deliver the impossible: a complete mapping system built from the ground up in a year or so. The result is that he gets sacked.

This is where the word "no" comes up. As an executive, part of your job is to say "no" to impossible projects and explain why the answer is no. That's why you get paid the mega-ducats, FFS.

Re:Lessons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119387)

By not saying "No", he most likely kept his job a year longer than he otherwise would have. Whether this was a good career move is debatable.

Re:Lessons (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year ago | (#42119669)

hint for the Exec folks

If you hear the Mission Impossible theme from your employees then THE PROJECT IS DOOMED
If you see a bunch of short swords RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

for further details read the Yourdon book DEATHMARCH

Re:Lessons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119741)

I'd wager if he said no they would've just replaced him with someone who said yes. Firing him on the basis that he can't provide the performance that employee x can.

Re:Lessons (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#42119505)

The solution: Apple needs to stop picking fights. I'm sure Google would have given them the full turn-by-turn system if Apple would have paid for it. Apple has great hardware and software engineers. But they aren't good enough to replicate the technology its competitor has spent over a decade developing in just one year.

Apple _was_ paying huge sums of money to Google for map data. They had the choice of continuing to pay to Google (which might have been a bad strategy, considering that for example Samsung doesn't seem to want to sell batteries to Apple anymore), or to do something about it. Short term pain, long term the right decision.

And mapping data is not "developed over a decade". It is developed, and then it is permanently updated. So starting from zero you are not _that_ far behind.

Middelfart actually has a train station (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42118905)

On a major line, too! If only Apple maps had a "transit directions" feature...

Ask Siri.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42118939)

... "Siri, why didn't we just stick with Google Maps, which worked?"....

Antarctica? Middelfart? (0, Troll)

bipbop (1144919) | about a year ago | (#42118971)

Mr. Williamson promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica, and walked to his home in Middelfart, Denmark."

I don't get it. Is this some kind of humor, or some kind of random gibberish added to the submission to see if anyone notices?

Maybe the submitter was trying to see if the editors were paying attention . . . ?

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (0, Redundant)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#42119065)

Whoosh!!

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (1, Informative)

bipbop (1144919) | about a year ago | (#42119093)

Whoosh isn't really appropriate. I just said "I don't get it." You could explain instead instead of announcing to me that there was a joke I didn't get!

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119221)

Whoooooosh!

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (3, Informative)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#42119391)

In a moment of seriousness, he was fired BECAUSE Apple Maps are providing faulty and at times outright insane directions. He was the guy in charge of making Apple Maps, as the summary says.

So the joke is that he used his iPhone to navigate home to Middelfart from Antarctica, and obviously was told the distance was short enough that he could just walk.

FYI, they're about 10,000 miles apart.

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119083)

It's called a sense of humor. Get one.

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119103)

It's supposed to resemble the sorts of mistakes that are (were?) present in Apple's maps (which the article is about). It's supposed to be funny.

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (2)

bipbop (1144919) | about a year ago | (#42119137)

Ah, thanks. I can be clueless about humor sometimes. My apologies for cluttering up the comments with my question.

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42119179)

It's a joke based on the fact that Apple maps has no idea where you are, where you're going, or where your destination is and since he designed it, he'd be using it after leaving the building.

Re:Antarctica? Middelfart? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42119205)

Mr. Williamson promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica, and walked to his home in Middelfart, Denmark."

I don't get it. Is this some kind of humor, or some kind of random gibberish added to the submission to see if anyone notices?

Maybe the submitter was trying to see if the editors were paying attention . . . ?

The joke is that the iOS 6 maps app couldn't find the right place you're looking for. Often mocked by the Motorola ad which touts the superiority of Google's maps (but which really turns out to be a non-existent address - if you specified a city, it would figure it out, but if you didn't, it found the right address in a different city), the problem was a few notable errors (of which Motorola could've picked instead of making one up) that were particularly egregious. And we're not talking about "a place with the same name", but well-known places that were in the wrong location period (wrong country, even).

So the joke goes that the Apple Maps are so bad, if you asked it to direct you across the street, you'll find yourself in another country if you followed its directions.

Impossible (5, Funny)

Covalent (1001277) | about a year ago | (#42119031)

"Mr. Williamson promptly left Apple headquarters in Antarctica, and walked to his home in Middelfart, Denmark."

That's impossible. Apple maps says Middelfart is south of Antarctica. Sheesh.

Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119051)

He still hasn't been able to find his way out of the building.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119687)

Posting anonymously, not just because of mod points, but for other obvious reasons... I know you're making a joke, but believe me, if you get fired from Apple (and probably any corporation) you find the door remarkably quickly....

I like the new maps.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119063)

Personally I still like the new maps app. Even on my old iphone4 it's faster and easier to read and does everything I want. It's even got more features than the previous map app.
Then again, I live in California and don't suffer from the bad map issues that other regions have had.

Let's hope apple learns from this lesson. Old Jobs hasn't been in the ground long and already their first "convenience over QC" choice has come back to bite them. Jobs was a QC /fanatic/ and would not have let the shitty maps slip out (Or stay there for long) even if staying with google was a thorn in their side.

And it was a thorn. Google is a competitor now. Google also wanted better terms if apple wanted to add new mapping features. Apple decided that it was not worth it.. And they were wrong.

I think if Jobs was still here he'd have slapped people around, re-negotiated with Google, and quickly have a patch issued to revert the maps. We'll see if apple continues to stumble in this very un-apple like manner.

With any luck google will issue a new maps app and everyone will be happy.

Re:I like the new maps.. (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#42119227)

Yep, the new maps app is great... It's only the data which is a problem, and given that people have spent years not complaining about tom tom's data, it would seem that the data isn't that bad either, though I'm sure there's room for improvement. Then again, I'm sure there is on google maps too... just look at vladivostok to see that.

Re:I like the new maps.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119589)

As a former owner of a dedicated Tom Tom GPS, I assure you I have plenty of complaints about the quality of their maps.

Re:I like the new maps.. (1)

a_claudiu (814111) | about a year ago | (#42119295)

I think if Jobs was still here he'd have slapped people around, re-negotiated with Google, and quickly have a patch issued to revert the maps. We'll see if apple continues to stumble in this very un-apple like manner.

Are you speaking about Steve Jobs? He will just say you are in the wrong position.

Re:I like the new maps.. (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#42119445)

Jobs was a QC /fanatic/ ... .

You definition of either Quality Control or fanatic differs from mine. In particular, Apple has NEVER been about QC. You don't buy Rev 1 of anything Apple unless you are a dyed in wool fanboy. You don't load x.x.0 of any Apple OS unless you are a dyed in wool masochist.

Yeah, Apple eventually gets it right, mostly. But they've never adhered to the 'fix it before it ships' mentality.

Re:I like the new maps.. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#42119451)

It wasn't "convenience over QC" ... it was pretty clearly "greed and arrogance over QC". It was most definitely not convenient to release their own mapping application early.

Re:I like the new maps.. (1)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#42119547)

I would too, except I went from high res full color imagery in my area to low res greyscale imagery.

Yes, really. It's like going through a time warp. The quality of the app is not bad. The quality of the data and imagery is a travesty compared to what Google offered.

I still get shivers when I go for the Map app .. (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about a year ago | (#42119067)

It was the 3rd most useful feature for me, after the actual phone/sms components of the phone!

Re:I still get shivers when I go for the Map app . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119323)

I used maps *more* than the phone/sms components on my iPhone, and the public transit directions more than walking and driving combined. I haven't upgraded to iOS 6, and don't plan on it until I replace my iPhone 4 with a Nexus 4 when my contract is up in a few months.

Mapping is one of those digital technologies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119069)

that take away almost as much as they give. I miss those manually edited directions to hard-to-find places, they can actually point out landmarks (what a concept!) that are often missing on a map.

Re:Mapping is one of those digital technologies (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42119715)

If you enjoy that, just move to Nicaragua. There is no other way of giving directions.

Keep the firing going (5, Funny)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42119119)

Some people tried to take a photo with their iPhone 5 of him leaving Apple headquarters but there was a huge purple flare over most of it so you can't even tell who it is. They must have been holding it wrong or the sun in that part of the US actually is purple.

Wrong problem? (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#42119135)

I think the bigger problem was rushing the product out, full of bugs, rather than lack of expertise or unreliable data. It would have been wiser to let it mature a bit more like Google did. Somebody had to be the guy that said, "Eh, it is good enough, let's ship."

Whether it was his call or not is another matter.

Re:Wrong problem? (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#42119195)

It would have been wiser to let it mature a bit more like Google did.

Huh? Google maps was full of errors and omissions when it came out. It improved over the years.

Google Maps was bad when it first appeared (4, Informative)

GreatDrok (684119) | about a year ago | (#42119145)

I was a frequent user of MapQuest when Google Maps appeared and for a good while there were glitches with Google Maps just like Apple is experiencing so I stuck with MapQuest. Google Maps are only as good as they are now because of all the time invested but even now they get it wrong. I was visiting a friend in Alabama and Google put his street address two miles away from the actual location.

The major loss with Apple Maps is the lack of public transport directions and for that reason alone, Google Maps needs to return. Until then, my phone is staying on iOS 5.

Re:Google Maps was bad when it first appeared (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119403)

Complete bullshit.

Re:Google Maps was bad when it first appeared (1)

cathector (972646) | about a year ago | (#42119569)

> Until then, my phone is staying on iOS 5.

i'm considering attempting to install iOS 5 on my iPhone 5 for this reason.

Re:Google Maps was bad when it first appeared (1)

jerpyro (926071) | about a year ago | (#42119575)

I used Mapblast (which became MSN Maps) because Mapquest's interface was TERRIBLE. But I agree, Google maps wasn't very good in the beginning either.
I guess that just shows how old I am :-P

Does this Google statement make sense? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#42119207)

Google was quoted as having said that they have a 400 year advantage [telemapics.com] over Apple maps.

Questions are:
Is this true?

Does it make sense?

Is there a way Apple can reduce these several centuries into a few years?

I'll answer myself on that last question:

Yes they can; by throwing one tenth of their $120 billion at the effort. I'd be happy to be part of it.

The funny thing really is... (1)

Dan9999 (679463) | about a year ago | (#42119309)

Most likely they're looking for someone with map experience now, instead of someone who can say no to other departments when asking for commitment dates. That person knows very well that if you have a commitment date then bugs are implied, and not following this way is contrary to current training in degrees for programming and management.

While a balance can be found as a product matures, the birth of a product is very different. Look at how we treat humans in the different stages of their life for citations.

Taking the fall... (5, Insightful)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year ago | (#42119413)

The problem wasn't so much that the Apple maps were terrible. With a few notable exceptions it actually wasn't bad for a first attempt. Remember, Google Maps wasn't very good at first either. The problem was promoting the Apple Maps as this awesome, fantastic piece of software. Someone in the Apple management chain needed to say "Uh Tim, maybe we should dial back the excitement a bit on this maps thing. Have you seen it? It needs work.". Evidently nobody did so Cook rolled it out thinking it was great and it wasn't.

Cook looks like an idiot, and by extension so does Apple, so something had to be done about it. He can't allow that to happen. If they lie to him about Maps then how can he trust them to tell him the truth about the next product? If I were him I would have done exactly the same thing. He needs to send a message to management that this sort of thing won't be tolerated. If the product is not ready then fine, we'll figure out something but don't bullshit me and leave me hanging out to dry in front our customers. It might seem harsh but these people are getting paid a ton of money to make the right decisions. If you screw up you're gone.

More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119509)

Did they know where to find him?

Too little too late (1)

ugen (93902) | about a year ago | (#42119567)

It seems like firing people is now a way of solving problems at Apple. I can't recall too many high profile firings during Steve Jobs tenure (may be I am not digging far enough, but still). Wonder what that means.

That said, primary failure of new Apple maps is not in what it does, but what it does not do. As driving maps go, they are fine. They have their share of errors, but so do Google maps. In fact just yesterday Google maps insisted that a whole block of streets was open and available for me to drive through, whereas in reality they are permanently blocked or do not exist (caused me to waste a good 30 minutes finding my way out). Checked on iPod at home with Apple maps, and it actually had them correctly shown as blocked. That's one advantage of using TomTom data which draws on crowd-sourced user corrections - changes are actually noted sooner.

However, lack of public transportation directions is a major dealbreaker for me. Along with lack of untethered jailbreak (though I can live without the latter) it's the reason I am holding off on buying iPhone 5. I can adjust to most other applications and changes - but there is no substitute out there for general purpose, universal public transportation directions like Google has.

Piecemeal solution of loading individual apps for various areas does not work both because it's:
- too much work to leave one app for another
- does not let me see these directions along with driving (what if I want to quickly compare which one's faster)
- Literally *all* of the 3rd party public transportation apps I tried (and that includes a number of major metropolitan areas in US) were complete and utter junk. They don't have to be, but then they'd have to basically become google maps :)

I also think at this point that Google is not going to be very forthcoming with their maps app for iOS6. I though differently before, since Google stands to lose quite a bit of tracking of Apple users. But now I happen to think they are ready to forgo this for a bigger prize. By withholding Google maps app they are able to slow adoption of iPhone 5 and other newer Apple hardware which is not available with older iOS. That's a direct hit at their competitor and they stand to gain some business that way (or other vendors of Android devices like Samsung, which still benefits Google). This way they make up lost tracking data and make more $$$ in the process.

So, my guess is - there may not be a Google maps app for iOS for a long time now. Time will tell.

Tim Cook next? (4, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#42119633)

Anybody thinking Tim Cook should remain CEO of Apple needs their head read.

I think that is wasn't the man in charge of Maps that should have gotten the ax, but the guy that decided to drop a working product in favor of a broken product and then stood on a stage and claimed it was better then all the rest.

I know the decision to drop Google Maps all began with Steve Jobs, however after his passing and Tim Cook taking over certainly there should have been some review of the companies projects to determine if Apple should stay on the same course. At some point I am sure someone must have fired up the Maps app and realized it was no-where near ready for prime-time.

If Tim Cook is going to blindly follow in Jobs footsteps and not make any executive decision that didn't originate from something Jobs began then I think he should step down or be ousted. Any sane CEO should have yanked the Maps product from the iOS 6 release schedule for lacking to match the quality of the app it was replacing. Yes, maybe it would have looked like egg on his face for postponing a highly publicized new feature, but it would have been far less worse then issuing an apology for releasing the app in the first place.

And what the f*ck about iTunes 11? There is only 2 days left in November and Apple still proudly boasts it is coming in November. Just like they proudly boasted it was coming in October. I think iTunes 11 is another fiasco in the making.

You can't just keep firing your top exec's without realizing that that man at top needs to start taking responsibility for the state of the company he is supposedly running. Apple doesn't need a caretaker, it needs a leader, Cook is not a leader.

Need new shorts now, thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42119691)

After the "escape goat" and "Middelfart" reference I laughed so hard I snorked at both ends.

Thanks slashdot!

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