For a time, beginning shortly after Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phones businesses, it looked like Nokia Maps (later renamed HERE Maps), would overtake and possibly even replace Bing Maps as the mapping solution for Windows and Windows Phone. Although Nokia refused to make maps and location services a part of the deal with Microsoft, the two companies worked closely together to push Nokia’s solution. No definitive decision was apparently ever made about which way to go, however, and maps on Windows was, to put it bluntly, a mess.
That all changed when new CEO Satya Nadella came on board, and Bing Maps was returned as the preferred mapping product. HERE Maps, which shipped on Windows Phones, remained, but with Windows 10, “Maps”, powered by Bing Maps, was the default. For some, at least, HERE Maps was still the better choice: in some regions, HERE Maps just had better detail than Bing, and HERE Drive, a traffic and directions app, was better suited for use while driving.
But then in an unfortunate series of blunders, HERE Maps basically disappeared from Windows phones. A problem with the Store prevented new users from downloading HERE Maps, which became glaringly real when Windows Insiders upgraded their phones to builds of Windows 10 Mobile, only to find that they couldn’t get HERE Maps back. A HERE Maps update rendered the apps, if you still had them, useless for a time, although that problem was fairly quickly resolved.
Still, HERE Maps has remained unavailable for Windows 10 Mobile users, but thanks to a comment over at WMPU by Social Media lead at HERE Pino Bonetti, that may be about to change:
Hi everyone, this is Pino from the HERE team. Thanks for all your feedback.
Existing HERE apps users on all Windows platforms will continue to have access to the apps. Working closely with Microsoft, we have corrected technical issues that were preventing some users from updating their HERE apps. If you still experience problems updating the HERE apps, please contact customer care at [email protected] For new users, the HERE apps are temporarily unavailable in the Windows Store due to an issue unrelated to Microsoft. HERE apologizes for any inconvenience and we are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
For what it’s worth, we’ve been reaching out to HERE for weeks trying to get some kind of explanation, we’re glad they’re finally going public.
What’s probably more important than getting the maps back is that HERE, now owned by a consortium of European car makers, is treating Windows apps as first class citizens. In a way it’s good to hear that HERE Maps haven’t been pulled due to lack of interest or spite, but rather just an unfortunate series of mishaps.