Apple is plotting to dump Google as the default maps application on its wildly popular iPhones and iPads with the launch of its own maps service.
The plan could be put into action before the end of this year, according to Silicon Valley rumours, and attendees at Apple's annual developer conference next week are hoping that they will get a sneak peak at the new map app. Replacing Google Maps as the default, preloaded app wouldn't stop users from downloading and using it on Apple devices, but it could dramatically cut the number of people using Google to look up addresses, search for restaurants and bars or get directions for car journeys.
That could have financial consequences for Google, which sells adverts based on what it knows about user behaviour. It could also shift the balance of power between Google and Apple, which were once close partners but are now engaged in battles across the technological landscape. Google makes phones under the Motorola brand and runs the most popular mobile operating system, Android; Apple has an advertising network serving little ads in the apps on its mobile devices.
To the winner of the maps battle could go the spoils of local advertising and marketing to potential consumers on the go.
"Advertising is all about data, and data is all about advertising," said Shelly Palmer, technology consultant and founder of Advanced Media Ventures. "At the moment, Google is the sole owner of how we navigate the world. I don't know whether Apple can compete because Google has put hundreds of thousands of man hours into maps, but if you are ever going to monetise any of your apps, you need as much of the ecosystem as possible. This is about knowing where people are and how they behave."
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