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GOOG Up, AAPL Down on Maps News

Never fear, wandering Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone users. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) will help you find your way. Literally.

The search-engine giant is releasing a brand new Google Maps application that will be available for download on Apple iPhones. The move comes three months after Apple’s own mapping device on its new iPhone 5 – which hit shelves in September – drew widespread complaints from users.

Reverting to a mapping device made by one of its chief rivals because its own device failed is undoubtedly humiliating for the world’s largest company. Apple’s rare moment of weakness isn’t sitting well with investors, either.

Apple shares are down 0.7% in early trading today. Perhaps some of those Apple sellers are now buying Google. GOOG shares have risen 1.4% on Thursday to break the $700 barrier for the first time in nearly two months.

While the bad publicity is little more than a short-term speed bump for Apple’s stock, its image is taking a bigger hit. By swooping in to rescue Apple from its Maps app fiasco, Google – at least for one fleeting moment – is coming off as the more reliable company.

Reliability is something that people value most in the technology they use. It’s just one instance, but the Maps debacle essentially makes Apple look like a loser and Google look like a winner.

Apple almost never misfires with its technology. You can bet the next time it does, Google will again try to capitalize.

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