As the battle between Apple and Google continues to escalate, the Wall Street Journal features an interesting article about Google Maps, and mobile maps and navigation software and servives more generally, as a crucial stake this conflict. Over the next couple of days, Apple is expected to announce its own mapping service and will subsequently disembed Google Maps from Apple devices. Google Maps was in many ways crucial to the initial succes of the iPhone and both companies cooperated heavily in attracting and redirecting smartphone users to mutual advantage. This cooperation with, basically, Apple selling devices and Google selling ads deteriorated with the advent and increasing market share of Android devices. Now, “Apple is going after the map market to have more control over a key asset in the widening smartphone war”, as WSJ authors Jessica Vascellaro and Amir Efrati comment. Their article has interesting details on both the early days of cooperation, the ensuing suspicions, distrust and secrecy involved in waging the war of the mobile device ecosystems. You can check out the whole article here.
Anybody out there working on this? In terms of shaping technology/building society through infrastructural assemblages, this case is clearly a steal. It encourages, among, I’m sure, many other things, to think about the layering of different kinds of infrastructures – territories, maps, directions, ads, planners, pedestrians, etc. – and the different kinds of circulation these infrastructures attract, moderate, and redirect. What a massive case of heterogenous engineering.