Dave linked to the Mercury News article so I don’t have to. The article is poorly-researched, poorly-written, and misleading.
For starters, it acts as if everyone (including Microsoft) is trying to catch up to Google in Mapping. That is exactly opposite of truth. Google is trying to copy and play catch-up to the previously-established players like MSN and MapQuest. Google may be gaining market share from AOL in this space, but since they started with none you wouldn’t expect them to lose market share.
Google maps is not a bad product, to be sure, but according to all of the user testing and reviews, it’s not better than Microsoft’s. Being “just about as good as Microsoft” is not a way to gain market share based on merit. Finding one person on a trade show floor who anecdotally says “Microsoft’s product has more power than I need” is not a ringing endorsement. Read about Redfin’s recent switch from Google (Zillow already used VE).
Of course, Google can leverage search monopoly to get share for their mapping product. They apparently can also leverage slavish reporters. But how well is that working for them? Note that the Mercury reporter didn’t cite mapping market share numbers to support her theory that Microsoft’s mapping efforts are a failure — she cited search numbers. That’s like saying “Google Earth is a failure, because Microsoft still have 90% market share in operating systems”. If you want to know how well the mapping products are doing, look at share numbers for that product, product reviews, and reports from real people who tried both and switched.