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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Can It Save iOS Mapping?

Microsoft CorporationMicrosoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) just might be in a good position to add some market share above and beyond what it gathers with the upcoming launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems next month. With longtime rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) getting a lot of negative feedback about its own mapping application on the new iPhone 5, perhaps Microsoft has an opening to get in on the iOS marketplace.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has established a mapping capability in its Bing application on the iOS, and it even has a live version available in the App Store. In the meantime, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has had its stable and popular Maps removed from the iPhone 5 and is not in the iOS 6. Google has submitted a Maps app for approval in the new App Store, though there is no indication whether Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will move on it one way or the other – though with the bad blood building between the two companies, it might be hard to consider that Apple would actually think about allowing Google back into its ecosystem.

While Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple have been rivals for most of the last 30 years, they have been relatively friendly and respectful of each other, even as they try to gain market share. And with Apple shutting out Google at this point, and Apple needing to work on its mapping application, could this be an opportunity for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to actually help Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and develop an iOS 6 mapping app through Bing?

The only thing Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) would say at this point is, “Bing has a solid existing experience for iPhone customers.  We don’t have anything to share about future plans or updates.” This doesn’t sound like a “no,” but instead might be a “maybe later.” While Apple is working feverishly to clean up its mapping app, the window for Microsoft to climb through might close pretty quickly.

To see Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) essentially help Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) gain some smartphone market share seems highly unlikely, it’s possible that Apple may not want to take much more criticism about its mapping app without a quick fix. Investors in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) – like hedge-fund manager Seth Klarman of Baupost Group – might think this is too unlikely, but is it possible to conceive?

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