Here’s one crazy rumor. Several sources are reporting that HTC is working on its own maps service, perhaps wanting to follow in Apple and Nokia’s footsteps which have recently launched their own map services. However, for all Apple’s might, partnerships and Q&A, Apple Maps turned out to be a major disappointment compared to Google Maps.
Nokia has been working on its own maps for years, ever since it already bought a huge company in the space (Navteq), and even they are several steps behind Google Maps in a lot of important geographical regions and in features, too. So why do the HTC executives think they can do better?
I’m usually for more competition, but I just don’t think HTC is the right company to build something like this, and especially not now. Not only do they need a lot of money invested in it and a lot of people working on it, right away, so the product doesn’t get dismissed as soon as it comes out as being way inferior to Google Maps, but they would also need a lot of money to improve it in the future, too. And frankly, nobody knows where HTC will be even a year from now. Their financials are looking significantly worse every quarter compared to the previous quarter.
If this rumor is actually true, then it reminds me of another major mistake they made last year when they invested $300 million in Beats Audio, only to sell back their shares later. I don’t know who keeps coming up with these ideas, but they seem incredibly wasteful, and arriving at the worst possible timing, while they aren’t giving HTC’s devices any extra value. If anything, HTC’s customer may think they are taking away value by not using Google Maps, if they are going to offer an inferior product.
All the major decisions in the past 2 years, and now this one, too, are making me think that maybe HTC really needs a new CEO and a new vision. Maybe HTC’s CEO, who also helped turn HTC into a great company until more recently, is burned out, or maybe he just hasn’t adapted to some of the realities of the smartphone market now. I’d rather see him go before HTC turns into another RIM or Nokia, because they waited too long before they changed their CEO, and then it was too hard to turn around.