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Posted by Tom Cheesewright on

Wake Up to Money: Why Maps Matter So Much To Google, Apple and Nokia

What a hoohah Apple’s switch from Google Maps created. Months later Google launches a Maps App for iOS and I get asked on to Wake Up to Moneyto talk about it.

Is mapping software really so important? Yes it is.

Aside from the noted safety concerns, and the frustration of not being able to find your destination, maps and the data behind them are hugely important. Because they represent the intersection between our online and offline lives. Maps applications don’t just tell US where THINGS are. They tell THINGS –businesses, governments, transport providers — where WE like to go.

This data has enormous value for advertisers, planners, service providers and all of the companies who want to service these organisations. Pyramid Research believes the global market for location-based services will be worth $10.3bn/£6.4bn by 2015. Based on nothing but gut instinct I’d say this is conservative if anything: being able to connect the current and past location of people to the services around them has to be worth a lot more than that for the billion smartphone users worldwide.

Combine the revenue potential with the brand issues that Apple’s maps blunder created and the rumours of an acquisition of mapping experts TomTom seem very plausible. After all this would cost Apple a fraction of its $121bn cash pile, much of which is tucked away outside the US where it would be very expensive to repatriate.

Maps matter, and the introduction of Google back to the iPhone is far from the last word in this story.

Tom Cheesewright