Waze CEO Says the Company Owes Its Success to Apple, Celebrates ‘Tim Cook Day’ Every Year

Apple has had a bit of a rough go of it when it comes to its Maps app, with a legendarily terrible launch many years ago.

But while Apple is working to turn things around, it is other companies that really reaped in the rewards right out of the gate following Apple’s initial stumble. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Waze CEO Noam Bardin weighs in on the effect Apple’s initial issues had on the Waze app in general, and why, even when compared to the acquisition by Google, it’s still marked as the most successful moment for Waze as a whole, and why the company owes its success to Apple.

If you’ll recall, Apple’s efforts with ditching Google Maps as the default maps app didn’t go over well. And not just because people weren’t ready to switch (but that probably had something to do with it). Apple Maps, at launch, just wasn’t good enough to warrant a switch, and even when the app could do something, it didn’t do it very well. There were plenty of shortcomings with Apple Maps on day one, which prompted the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, to write and publish a public apology letter.

In that letter, despite the fact Apple was trying to launch its own product, Cook actually suggested folks try to use other, competing apps. One of those apps at the time was Waze. And that moment actually cemented itself as an annual celebration for Waze, called, appropriately (but a bit sarcastically), “Tim Cook Day”.

Here, we’ll let Bardin explain it:

“We were acquired in 2013, but 2012 was sort of a defining moment for the company. It’s a day that’s still celebrated today at the company every year: It’s called Tim Cook day, and it’s the day Apple came out with Apple Maps. The day before I was interviewed by a not-to-be-named publication, and it doesn’t really matter what I said, but the headline said “Apple partner says Maps will be terrible.”

So you can imagine the response when that happened from Apple — they were definitely not very happy — but it’s what I said. The next day, Apple Maps came out, and suddenly I went from being about to get fired, app get pulled from the App Store, to “I saw the future” and “I knew what I was talking about.”

Tim Cook came out and actually put out a letter apologizing for Apple Maps, and he said until that comes out you can use Microsoft, Google, and Waze. That was our coming-out moment in the US, and from there things start to pick up pace, eventually ending in the acquisition in 2013.”

What’s funny here is that Bardin actually says that Waze was looking at developing primarily for BlackBerry at the time. But, of course, that idea changed course and the iOS app was brought to the world. The Waze CEO says that if they had gone the other way, down that BlackBerry road, the company might not be here at all (which is a little sad, but mostly for BlackBerry).

Bardin talks about a lot of different things in the interview and it’s certainly worth checking out through the source link below. But, here’s one last bit from the CEO, directed to those entrepreneurs out there who might be thinking about selling their company:

“If you’re going to sell your company, sell it to Google. I mean that.”

[via Business Insider (AUS)]