The iOS6 maps “fiasco” brings up an interesting question I often think about: Why is it that in the consumer technology world at least, vertical integration often competes with delivering value to the user.

iOS Maps is an interesting case. Yes, it has some new stuff, but it also took some stuff away. It’s not clearly better, and it’s definitely worse for a huge chunk of city dwellers. I obviously don’t know the whole backstory behind the change, but it smells to me like another example where Apple thought that control over the feature was more useful in the long term than providing the current best experience (which is clearly google maps).

The business relationship between Apple and Google must also be behind this, but why does it have to be this way? Why is it that two tech giants with best-of-breed tech in different areas rarely seem to be able to cooperate to produce an awesome product for the user? (And as companies get larger, and their product overlap continues to grow, the effect tends to worsen) It’s kinda depressing to see this same game play out over and over again. It also seems like the world maybe just hasn’t figured out the right way to make the business side work.

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