Microsoft Loses Here Maps, Gains Much Needed Update For Windows 10 Maps

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Microsoft has greatly tempered its mobile ambitions as it has seen hardware partners trickle down and user base shrink. One thing that it could never really get around was the app gap that exists between its platform and rivals Android and iOS.

It’s not just about the sheer number of apps as much as it is about the presence of high-quality apps from big well-known companies. If you are looking to find a banking app, travel app or even the latest social sensation (looking at you Snapchat), you would be better off looking elsewhere.

It is also looking more and more likely that Microsoft’s strategy of looking to populate its mobile app store through universal apps is failing. Users are just used to accessing their information through the browser and not through apps.

At this point, all but the most ardent of fans have abandoned Windows Mobile, especially since Microsoft itself has made it’s proprietary apps freely available on other platforms. Naturally, App makers too do not have much incentive to keep supporting the platform as well.

This week, in what could be seen a major blow for Windows users, Here Maps announced that it would stop supporting Windows from the end of this month. Here Maps, which was the default application that users depended on, was developed by Nokia but not acquired by Microsoft during the takeover deal.

Microsoft itself does not have a well developed Mapping solution so it seems odd that a company as cash rich as it did not jump on the chance to acquire an admired, mature mapping solution. The fact that Google continues to ignore Windows 10 completely is also hurting Microsoft a lot.

As can be expected, a lot of ire was hurled at Microsoft in the wake of this news to which Microsoft has responded by releasing a major update for its mapping solution today.

The update has been released for people on the insider program, a move that Microsoft had teased via twitter yesterday. Changes include a new layout, cleaner interface, better search, enhanced glanceability, turn by turn directions and the ability to cache some information offline. There is no information as to when the update will be made available to everyone on the platform.

While this may seem like a relief to some users on the platform, it honestly feels like too little too late. Android has tight integration with Google Maps and iOS has plenty of mapping solutions available in the app store already. Microsoft which is clearly trying to play catch up will have to think as to what it can offer its users after March 29th when Here Maps abandons the platform on which it was founded.

 

 

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