Google Maps has never officially been supported on Windows Phone, but today many users have reportedly been cut off entirely. Frustrated owners report that trying to visit the web version of Google's popular service results in them being redirected to the company's main website. As numerous posts in our forums and our own tests confirm, the issue is currently affecting a wide number of handsets running Windows Phone 7 and 8.
The rivalry between both tech giants has grown deeper in recent weeks after Google announced plans to move away from Microsoft's Exchange platform, news which Redmond insists it was surprised by. This development shouldn't come as any type of shock, however, since Google Maps relies on WebKit on mobile devices; the Internet Explorer app Microsoft built for Windows Phone doesn't utilize the rendering engine. Still, though it was never officially supported for non-Webkit browsers, Google Maps was previously accessible to some degree on Windows Phone. For many, that's no longer the case.
Update: We've updated the original text to emphasize that Google Maps on Windows Phone was never officially supported by Google.
Update 2: Google has issued a statement on the situation to Gizmodo:
The mobile web version of Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers such as Chrome and Safari. However, since Internet Explorer is not a WebKit browser, Windows Phone devices are not able to access Google Maps for the mobile web.
It's important to note that while the statement does support our reporting above — that Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers — it doesn't clarify why the Google Maps mobile site was previously accessible for many Windows Phone users, or what has been recently changed to prevent that access.
Update 3: Microsoft provided a short statement to Gizmodo as well, simply saying that "Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 use the same rendering engine."