That said, your example is pretty shocking considering Apple's historically stringent quality standards.
It this something that would have happened with Steve at the helm? I mean, the business case for moving off of your competitor's flagship map product is clear. You want to get them out of your product development cycle, you want to deny them revenue, you want to dilute their brand. I get that.
But still, Apple is ultimately achieving this by pushing what seems to be universally regarded as an inferior product out to its customers. It's basically a downgrade. When has Apple ever done that before?
Do you think Apple hasn't been working in this direction since before Steve left the helm?
Placebase acquisition: Jul 2009
Poly 9 acquisition: Jul 2010
C3 acquisition: Aug 2011
I mean obviously if it was a disaster they would have to go back and cut another deal with Google (or Nokia/MS) but it now becomes obvious why they held back turn by turn from the old Maps app for so long. Because you can legitimately argue that 6.0 Maps with some weak spots that can be improved over time but with turn by turn plus possibly Google Maps in the App store is better then 5.0 Maps powered by Google's superior data but without turn by turn.
As far as Google I'd guess they would have been fine to continue powering the default Maps app. Google's price might have gone up from 2007 but the quality increased by a similar amount.
I think the maps feature that Apple believed they could produce, at the time they made the decision, was probably very different from the maps feature they were actually able to produce.
iPhoto however, I think, could use some rethinking...