The Wall Street Journal has weighed in on the brewing battle for mobile map supremacy, independently confirming earlier reports that Apple will abandon Google Maps as the default navigation app for iOS 6. Citing both current and former Apple employees, the Journal adds that Cupertino will officially replace Google Maps with its own in-house app sometime "later this year," though the company could provide a preview of its new software at next week's WWDC '12.
This lines up rather nicely with what several other outlets have been reporting over the past few weeks, but what makes the Journal's piece especially compelling is its longer-term context. Using iOS Maps as a prism, the article traces the gradual dissolution of relations between Apple and Google, beginning in 2006 — when both companies saw the Google Maps-equipped iPhone as a mutually beneficial platform — and culminating in the present day, with the two rivals in clear and defiant opposition to one another. The Journal's chronology alludes to some of the backroom drama one would expect from any corporate arms race, but its primary motive is to contextualize a schism that's been growing for a few years now, and a rivalry that may be entering a new phase.