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Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs 334

Posted by timothy
from the cash-grass-or-apps dept.
TechCrunch reports that Apple, facing a substantial backlash (and some snarky competitive advertising) over goofs in the mapping software included in iOS 6, is going after the problem with a hiring spree. Here's TechCrunch's lead: "Apple is going after people with experience working on Google Maps to develop its own product, according to a source with connections on both teams. Using recruiters, Apple is pursuing a strategy of luring away Google Maps employees who helped develop the search giant’s product on contract, and many of those individuals seem eager to accept due in part to the opportunity Apple represents to build new product, instead of just doing 'tedious updates' on a largely complete platform." Meanwhile, writes reader EGSonikku "Well known iOS hacker Ryan Perrich has gotten the iOS5 Google Maps application to run on iOS6 using 'a little trickery.' (YouTube demonstration.) He has not released it yet due to crashing issues but states 'it mostly works.'"
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Apple Reportedly Luring Ex-Google Mappers With Jobs

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  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:12PM (#41431311)
    I don't really see how this is a news story. I mean it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.
  • Honestly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joh (27088) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:22PM (#41431387)

    I'm not an Apple fanboi but the rap Apple is getting about that maps app (and the data behind it) is just unreasonable. I'm totally happy with another big company trying to gear up here. Having only Google as a supplier of that would be just sad. What's wrong with competition? Let Apple try and top Google or at least get far enough to be as usable as Google maps is. And really, it's not as if Google had no screw-ups ever. Google for it (lol).

    Sometimes I look at comments everywhere and it seems as if people would be totally happy to see nothing but Google and Android everywhere. Be careful what you wish for! Competition is good. Luring away employees is good. I love to be lured away from the job I'm doing. Give me a better job and a harder task to solve and I'm happy.

    I'm sure that Apple going for a solution of its own will make even Google better. There's nothing good about the complacency of being a monopoly. Really. Grow some brain, guys.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:23PM (#41431393)

    it makes completely sense to try and lure away experienced professionals away from another company on a similar project.

    The story is that a company known for boasting about its innovation prowess and suing the rest of the industry over imitation is doing this.

  • Re:Data (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QilessQi (2044624) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:31PM (#41431449)

    I respectfully disagree that the primary problem is the data. Have you seen the comparisons of Apple's "virtual flyover" with Google's "street view"? Flyover looks nice for certain scenes, but others are full of bizarre Dali-esque digital artifacts and distortions.

    Give me real photos from street level, any day.

  • Re:Honestly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:37PM (#41431501)

    Apple releasing a map apps is completely fine. Making it not possible to use Google Maps, when in fact the Apple app sucks balls and the Google App is pretty awesome is what the problem is. Apple could at least have waited with blocking Google Maps until their own app wasn't so horrendous compared to the real thing.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:48PM (#41431565)

    I thought Apple never did wrong because every pundit was detailing its so called, "attention to detail...". So what happened?

    One did not need elementary school education to realise that its maps iteration was not just crazy, but it was just bizzare, showed incompetence and was taken as a reckless joke by many of us.

    So again, what hapened to, "It just works?"

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:52PM (#41431591)

    ianal, but I was under the impression that calif was a right-to-work state. a company saying you can't work in your field, even if its just 1 other company (especially in this economy!) IS actually denying you your right to earn a living. suppose that was the only offer you could get? (I've been in the job market and this is not at all farfetched).

    lots of bullshit is seen on calif employment contracts. it only matters if the company tries to sue you; and most of the time, they won't bother. the negative PR, should you fight back, would be a career limiter for folks IN the company who pushed you into this.

  • Re:Honestly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joh (27088) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:54PM (#41431605)

    I understand what you're saying, but: Isn't this just business? Yeah, it may look childish now and then but do you really expect multi-billion companies fighting over multi-bilion markets not trying to get in the lever at every crack they see?

    Personally I think even all these silly lawsuits are basically a symptom of civilisation. There're are lawyers making lots of money here, yes. But isn't this basically a good, civilized way of fighting and of money well spent? Better than going and killing people anyway. Better than almost everything that was common in the past. Better than any *real* war. No people are losing their limbs or being killed here. No widows, no orphans, no people being pushed around in wheelchairs. Just business and things to bicker about on Slashdot.

    What's wrong about that? I love it. Give me more of that and more competition and more lawsuits. And less war and money spent on weapons instead. The day that wars will be fought and won or lost in a court will be the victory of civilisation. Give me more that and more different smartphones and tablets and map apps and whatever.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:01PM (#41431655)
    I suspect it's not a technical problem, but rather, a we-hate-google problem. As for why you need trickery to run it, it's probably related to the software being default software that was removed with the update.
  • by PixetaledPikachu (1007305) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:06PM (#41431673)

    I don't use Apple products, so maybe this isn't as surprising to others as it is to me, but why the fuck can't an app that ran fine on iOS 5 also run fine on iOS 6? Why is "a little trickery" needed, and even then there are still issues?

    Furthermore, wasn't iOS 5 only released to the public in October of 2011? I mean, that wasn't even a single year ago! Is smartphone and tablet crap shat out so rapidly that backward compatibility can't be retained even after only 11 months?

    How is it that Microsoft, who aren't exactly known for creating the most robust software, can maintain backward compatibility with operating systems released decades ago, but Apple (also a very well-funded company, with access to basically any talent they need) can't even manage to retain compatibility with a system released not even a year ago?

    this has nothing to do with backward compatibility, this is a solid case of "I don't want to pay you for features that my customers need, and I can't provide decent replacement, but my users will buy my stuff anyway, so why bother"

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:37PM (#41431883)

    Come on, think of the awesome sales pitch these guys are getting. "Don 't be Evil"? Screw that. Come to the dark side. You have no idea of the full financial advantage of the dark side. Watch those that believe in open standards tremble at your feet.

    Yes, because Google Maps is such an open standard. /s

  • Re:This. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:45PM (#41431923)

    I see this kind of comparison a lot, so I'll help you understand how it works: Apple bashing gets modded up because of patent lawsuits, high prices, abused workers at third-world manufacturing plants, common or old features being touted as crazy innovations and all of the above combined with gigantic lines for their products, which implies their typical customer's perceived affinity with technology. Google bashing, on the other hand, is often modded down because it happens mostly on comments pertaining to Apple stories. Which means they are probably flamebait and certainly offtopic, thus the rightful moderation. Your example fits nicely. On the other hand, on stories about either Google, privacy concerns or driverless cars, Google bashing is often modded up, so if that's what you fell like doing, lurk for a while and select your stories with more care in the future.

    On a related note, X fans will always think that X's competitor Y is being given an unfair advantage, so a wiser approach would be to just let it go.

  • by NameIsDavid (945872) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:47PM (#41431933)

    this has nothing to do with backward compatibility, this is a solid case of "I don't want to pay you for features that my customers need, and I can't provide decent replacement, but my users will buy my stuff anyway, so why bother"

    No, it has to do with Google putting restrictions on the use of map data, including not allowing turn-by-turn navigation. Apple knew that it couldn't have a core feature of its product permanently beholden to a competitor and the restrictions it might impose down the line. So, realizing that bringing maps in-house would not get any easier down the line, it decided to rip off the band-aid now. Every other smartphone platform has done the same. Microsoft uses its own maps. Nokia owns Navteq and Google we all know about.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:52PM (#41431961) achieves this innovation by having the best people. Again, why is this news?

    Because it is abundantly apparent that Apple's intention in this case is to copy Google, and not even by original development. That's the news. The company boasting about innovation and complaining about copying, is itself planning to blatantly copy and skip the pesky innovation. See?

    Look, I know it's inconvenient for Apple that independent news reporting beyond its control actually exists but that's the way the world works. Fortunately for the rest of us.

  • Re:No thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cute and Cuddly (2646619) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:53PM (#41431965)
    At least they work....
  • Re:This. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smurf (7981) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @08:01PM (#41432021)

    Actually, a good chunk of those funny blunders falls into the third of these categories of problems with Apple's iOS 6 Maps:

    1. 1. Functionality that was there in the old (Google Maps-based) version, and that was lost in the new one.
    2. 2. Errors due to outdated or incomplete information, which conduces to bad navigation directions, misplaced locations, and other funny results. (That is, funny if you are not depending on the feature).
    3. 3. Errors in rendering of certain features (Hoover Dam, Eiffel Tower) which can be quite hilarious.

    The first category includes things like directions for public transportation, pedestrians, and bike trails, as well a more robust search system, but it doesn't produce funny errors, they don't get pointed out very often.

    The second category makes a good chunk of the hilarity, but it's something that Apple will (slowly) correct as they refine their databases. Google has many years of headstart here, so it's no wonder their database is in much better shape.

    The third category is the one that produces the most hilarious errors but... well, it turns out that it reflects artifacts in the renderings produced by the flyover feature, a feature that AFAIK is not really part of Google Maps, and thus the criticism is rather silly!

    Yes, Google has similar flyovers in Google Earth, but that's a separate product. Furthermore, Google Earth is plagued by similar errors in rendering. Examples:
    In Google Earth, go to this location in Houston: 29.713347 -95.382174, and follow the bayou (river) as it goes West and South-west towards the Texas Medical Center. See how all those bridges appear to sink to the level of the water? A similar example can be found in Philadelphia: 39.958905 -75.180871.

    tl;dr My point is: The 3D rendering errors are funny but not exclusive to Apple. The inaccurate database is easy to fix, but will take time. The missing features are the real problem and we don't know if Apple even intends to add them.

  • Re:frist psot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @08:23PM (#41432177)

    what would apple do if samsung did this to them? what would the courts reactions be?

    Excuse me? You realise that at some point Apple, Google and others had agreements not to headhunt each other's employees, and _have been told by courts that such an agreement is illegal_?

    Hiring Google ex-employees and even more hiring Google employees is something that Apple is _expected_ to do by Californian law. Free market. Free choice of employees to work for whoever pays most.

  • by fredprado (2569351) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @08:47PM (#41432293)
    Then they would have invested more in a better alternative before forcibly implementing it.
  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @08:59PM (#41432375)

    Yes, because Google Maps is such an open standard. /s

    They provide access to their API, anyone can freely integrate it into their software, websites, or Android apps and even insert their own maps. []

    Misleading, at best.

    Google charges you if you go over a certain number of users: []

    If you want access to map tiles, you simply can't get them, and Google will send their lawyers after you if you reverse engineer.

    At least with Apple maps commercial use is free. And Bing will let you license the raw map tiles and provide you with an API to get them.)

    (Citation: I've worked on software that implemented Maps from scratch and tried to license from Google. Google also made the news recently when they raised their rates: )

  • by PixetaledPikachu (1007305) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:14AM (#41434451)

    That would've locked them out of turn-by-turn for another five years.

    Do Google have monopoly on map data? My HTC Desire Z has map and turn by turn navigation by TomTom that works out of the box

    Funny, so does iOS 6 (Have TomTom data that is) and apparently it sucks.

    TomTom has been in the mapping business since 1991, and their data and products has been used by hundreds of hundreds of their customer. I think, perhaps the data is not the source the problem, but Apple just did a lousy job implementing them

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:27AM (#41434511)

    What I meant is that if that is really the case Apple should have taken the necessary time or invested the necessary amount of resources to have a good alternative solution. I highly doubt that Google's terms were anywhere as bad as you describe, though. Google has a long history of allowing other to license the use of its technologies, unlike Apple.

    I think that Apple has long adhered to the Agile Software Development concept of committing 'just enough' development resources to a product to implement 'just enough' features to make that product a viable choice for people to buy. You can see this in earlier releases of the iPhone OS where they left out a long list of features like 'copy/paste', 'mark mail as read' and a whole lot of other small and small-ish features who then crept into later releases. People voted with their wallets and bought their iPhones anyway because the feature set was still complete enough to make the devices interesting. This time Apple simply underestimated what 'just enough' is when it comes to mapping applications. Apple also seriously underestimated just how much people use maps on their smart-phones. I think Apple's mad scramble to hire people with cartographic experience makes this obvious. Unfortunately for them Apple will not be able to catch up with Google Maps unless they shell out a significant proportion of their vast cash reserve, which I hope they do since I applaud any serous competition Google gets.

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