Originally published in The Clarion | September 26, 2012
Business is tough these days. I imagine most any area of business in our country can be looked at and, without very much analysis, one will find that things simply aren’t as good as they once were. While many (potentially most) areas of industry in America are doing everything they possibly can to “right the ship”, there are sectors of the technology industries that seemingly refuse to do anything but continue to play hard ball with their competition – resulting in nothing short of dissatisfied customers. I wrote an article a while back about copyrights in the software arena; since that article things have continued to get even more messy.
Just a few days ago, Apple Inc. released their new iPhone 5 along with a new Operating System for this and older devices including the iPhone 4 and iPad. This new OS is named iOS6 and I am sure it is nice, most everything that comes out of Apple Inc. is. One feature of iOS though has many consumers quite upset, and in my opinion rightfully so. What has happened is they have suddenly become victims of a continuing battle between Apple Inc. and Google.
Before the release of iOS6, users of Apple Inc.’s products were able to use (by default) mapping software on their devices that utilized mapping data from Google Maps. This software was included with each and every mobile device that Apple Inc. sold and, from what I have been able to gather, worked quite nicely. In iOS6 though, whether the consumer upgrades the Operating System on their devices or purchases a new iPhone 5, they are now only given access to a new mapping application – one that no longer uses Google’s mapping data. From most accounts, Apple Inc.’s mapping data is exponentially inferior to the data previously provided by Google. Several features of the mapping application are no longer available and according to some reports, the application seems more like a downgrade even though it is received with the Operating System upgrade. The old Southern saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” almost certainly applies here.
This is one really good example of the mess that the realm of technology has gotten itself in to. With countless court cases pitting one technological giant against another, there is no doubt in my mind that it is the consumers who are now suffering unnecessary consequences. Why should any consumer pay hundreds of dollars for a new device only to find that one of their most favorite applications now functions worse than it did in years past? I think it is past time for all technology providers to sit down around the table and work things out. There simply is no reason to continue playing such childish games at the expense of the consumer. If everyone at the table would come to an agreement, I am confident that in the end everyone will win.