nokia here maps ss 2

Nokia’s long-standing mapping service rebranded as Here got announced in November 2012, with the native iPhone and iPad application arriving soon after with maps for around 200 countries, voice-guided walking navigation, public transportation directions and offline capability.

It was a nice little app that Nokia hoped would effectively fill the void in the App Store at the height of the iOS Mapsgate controversy.

Then, Google released its revamped standalone Maps for iPhone and spoiled the party for Nokia as its offering quickly tanked in App Store rankings. On Thursday, the embattled Finnish company has removed the Here application from the App Store, with a company spokesperson firing a potshot at Apple’s iOS 7 in a written statement…

Rationalizing its move, Nokia dispatched its spokesperson who said in a written statement provided to Engadget:

We have made the decision to remove our HERE Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience.

iPhone users can continue to use the mobile web version of HERE Maps under m.here.com, offering them location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information and more, all completely free of charge.

As if iPhone owners are fond of running web apps in Safari. Besides, the native app’s ability to cache offline data is nowhere to be found in the web app.

To me, the most disturbing segment is the “recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience” part. That statement leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It just comes across as downright petulant because Nokia hasn’t really told us how it thought iOS 7 harmed the user experience.

Was it the new APIs?

Or the visual changes?

The review process?

We’d love to hear a sensible explanation.

Nokia Here (Maps, web browser)
Nokia’s Here Maps in a desktop web browser.

Nokia is mum on the fact Here received no updates during its year on the App Store.

In any event, this has got to be the first time a major App Store developer pulled its software from the store citing iOS 7 changes. I’d guess the app fell victim of Nokia’s broad streamlining and cost-saving measures, but there could also be a little bit of good old-fashioned rivalry and jealousy going on here.

After all, Microsoft is in the process of buying Nokia’s device business, but the sale doesn’t involve Here Maps, Nokia’s network infrastructure and its licensing and development arm called Advanced Technologies.

Although the official terms of the agreement include Microsoft paying Nokia for a four-year license of the Here services, the sale basically relegates Nokia to a much smaller company – one which may no longer justify pouring resources into iOS development, especially with heavy hitters such as Microsoft, Google and Apple vying for iOS users with their respective native mapping applications.

Are you sad to see Nokia’s Here Maps disappear from the App Store?