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Google's Schmidt offers strong words regarding Apple Maps flap

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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday confirmed a new version of its popular iOS mapping app has not yet been submitted to Apple, adding that the iPhone maker's decision to switch to a new proprietary solution was perhaps a misstep.

Speaking to Reuters during a visit to Japan to promote Google's Nexus 7 tablet, Schmidt confirmed that the company hasn't made any moves toward launching an iOS 6 compatible version of Google Maps, officially quashing a rumor which said the app was already under review by Apple.

The executive didn't stop there, however, and said Apple's move to replace Google Maps was a mistake.

"We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?" Schmidt remarked. "What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."

With iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, Apple Maps supplanted Google Maps as the mobile operating system's default mapping service, with new features like free turn-by-turn navigation and unique 3D "Flyover" capabilities. Apple's in-house solution is far from polished, however, and a number of critics said the switch may have been premature.

As for when Apple may allow a new Google Maps app into the App Store, Schmidt had no comment on the matter besides affirming he wants to continue whatever partnership can be salvaged from the somewhat broken relationship.

"I'm not doing any predictions. We want them to be our partner. We welcome that," Schmidt said. "I'm not going to speculate at all what they're going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit."

The Google chairman maintains that no app has been provided to Apple and gave no hints as to when the software would be submitted.

"We have not done anything yet," Schmidt said. He did mention, however, that Google has "been talking with (Apple) for a long time. We talk to them every day."

Apple itself admitted that its iOS Maps app was a work in progress and promised continued refinement of the new service. The statement is in line with recent reports of job listings advertising software engineering positions for the company's Maps Team.

Motorola's "iLost" ads poke fun at Apple's Maps flap.

While Schmidt claimed to have no thoughts on Apple's Maps plans, he did take the opportunity to offer conjecture as to why Android enjoys a superior market share compared to iOS.

"Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher," Schmidt quipped. He went on to say that the media was "obsessed with Apple's marketing events and Apple's branding," and largely ignores Android's success.

"That's great for Apple but the numbers are on our side," he said.

Tuesday's news doesn't offer much information about a possible Google Maps for iOS launch timeline, though the company's desire to maintain a presence on iOS is no secret. Most recently the search giant released a standalone YouTube app following Apple's announcement that the familiar first-party app would no longer be included with iOS 6.

Despite keeping up appearances in public, there is a definite undercurrent of mild hostility flowing between the two companies, evidenced by Schmidt's quick aside during his Nexus 7 presentation. When showing off a new Google Maps 3D feature which uses the tablet's internal sensors to manipulate the onscreen UI rather than touch gestures, Schmidt said, "Take that Apple," quickly adding, "That was a joke by the way."