That means that Google has gone from having at least 31m users on the iPhone in April 2012 – and perhaps as many as 35m in September 2012, based on a model using a sliding scale of maps ownership – to around 6.3m who are using it monthly on iOS 6 and above.
That his concluding paragraph — the rest of the article says this (more or less) several times over. That’s a massive hit to Google. These numbers are survey numbers and not comprehensive, and therefore should not be taken as gospel — still they show a very disturbing trend for Google.
Mapping is important, but it is important to Google and Apple in different ways. Google uses mapping as a direct source of income (sponsored listing, targeted ads, other creepy things), where Apple uses mapping as indirect income: mostly as a feature to their iOS platform, just another selling point for the device.
So whereas Apple could survive if they killed their mapping client all together (because users could install alternatives),1 Google would take a substantial revenue hit if they lost all mapping. It’s in that light that I highly doubt the explanation for why Apple switched from Google maps is any more convoluted than: we don’t want to make money for our competitor.
Yes, still a lot of people would complain, but even you would buy a new iPhone if it didn’t have a native maps app. ↩