Beyond that, every time an iOS device owner used location services and map data -- whether or not that use was in the Maps app itself -- he or she was delivering a wealth of personal and geographic information to Google. Where is the user? What cell towers and Wi-Fi networks are nearby? What generation iPhone and what version of iOS is he or she using? What is he or she looking for -- restaurants, bars, hotels, libraries, offices, shoe stores? What route does the user prefer to get someplace? That's invaluable data for Google to apply to improving its mapping systems, but it's also a ton of demographic data - the type of information that is at the heart of Google's advertising business.
That's information over which Apple had little control. More importantly, it's information that Apple can now use to grow its own mapping and navigation systems, speech recognition technologies, iAd business and marketing plans.
In short, the deal gave Google significant advantages and held Apple back. Kicking Google to the curb and accepting the potential fallout was a ballsy but necessary move, even if it meant taking jabs over its Maps app.
Of course, if we're going to talk about Apple playing hardball with Google, we have to note the range of patent suits Apple has brought around the world to fight Android.
There's the oft-quoted passage in Walter Isaccson's biography of Jobs where Jobs says that he's willing to "go thermonuclear" to stop Android. For him, Android represented a personal betrayal of trust and one that tugged at the psychic wound inflicted by Microsoft's development of Windows. It was a battle that Jobs would almost certainly press to the highest courts in every possible country were he still alive.
Apple hasn't backed down from that fight under Cook's leadership, but it hasn't made the victory against Samsung this summer personal, either. The company's responses have been well thought out, calmly delivered statements about how Apple led the way with certain technologies or concepts and incurred R&D costs that competitors didn't had to pay.
The Apple message is clear: It will use all of the resources at its disposal to compete. In this case, one of those resources is the U.S. patent system and the sheer volume of patents that Apple owns. You can argue about whether the patent system in the U.S. is broken or whether Apple should have been granted some patents. But the fact is that Apple has the patents and will use them. Doing anything less would put Apple at a strategic disadvantage.