Offers users alternatives: Bing, MapQuest, Waze and Google and Nokia's Web apps

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
September 28, 2012

FORTUNE — For Apple AAPL watchers looking for signs that the company changed after Steve Jobs died, here’s one for the books.

On Friday, his successor, Tim Cook, issued an apology to Apple customers:

“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Although unable to restrain himself from sharing — Jobs style — some big round numbers (100 million iOS devices using Apple Maps, nearly¬†half a billion location searches in the first week), he also did something unusual for any CEO. He pointed users to Apple’s mapping competitors: Microsoft’s MSFT Bing, AOL’s AOL MapQuest, Waze and Google GOOG and Nokia’s NOK Web apps.

That never would have happened if Steve Jobs were still alive.

UPDATE: CNNMoney’s David Goldman has posted a gallery of eight Apple snafus, seven of which drew official Apple apologies, two of them — the $200 iPhone price cut in 2007 and the 2006 stock options scandal — from Jobs himself. Note that although the company issued free iPhone 4 bumpers, neither he nor Apple ever did apologize for Antennagate.

You can read Cook’s Maps letter here.

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