Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company will need Apple Inc.'s approval to offer its maps application for the iPhone, after the software was replaced by an Apple program that's been criticized by reviewers.
"We haven't done anything yet with Google Maps," Schmidt told reporters in Tokyo today. Apple would "have to approve it. It's their choice," Schmidt said, declining to say if the Mountain View, California-based company submitted an application to Apple for sale through its App Store.
New mapping software Apple introduced with the iPhone 5 was criticized by technology gadget reviewers, who said it doesn't provide directions for public transportation and sometimes gets confused when navigating users. Apple, which is touting the map features as a key software change built the app amid a growing battle with Google, which had provided its Google Maps program since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.
Apple built the replacement app because it wanted to scale back its relationship with Google, and not due to any product flaws, two people familiar with Apple's development of the mapping features said earlier.
The company's rivalry with Google was born after the owner of the world's largest Internet search engine developed the Android mobile operating system, which runs devices from manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. that compete with Apple's iPhone. Android is now the world's most popular smartphone software.
As the competition escalated, Schmidt exited Apple's board in 2009. Cupertino, California-based Apple also traded patent- infringement lawsuits with several smartphone manufacturers who use Android, including Samsung.
Google, the operator of the world's largest Internet search engine, is stepping up its challenge to Apple in the tablet market, which is estimated to reach $78.7 billion this year, from $44.9 billion in 2011, according to DisplaySearch. The company today unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet for sale in Japan.