Is Google now blocking Windows Phone from using Google Maps?

We’re not sure if this is just a temporary error or something more nefarious but Google appears to have changed something whereby Windows Phone users are now blocked when trying to access maps.google.com.

Granted, it’s not clear why you would want to use Google’s less-than-awesome mapping service through a browser, but humor us for a second. The move appears to be a continued approach to lockout all Google services from those who adopted Windows Phones. Or it’s just poor service.

We were able to verify on our Windows Phones that when going to maps.google.com we are redirected to www.google.com/m for mobile, regardless of IE10’s settings i.e. Desktop mode. Reports suggest that maps.google.co.uk still works for some folks but for us that too redirects, making this an in-motion change that is evidently occurring worldwide.

We were also able to confirm that on the iPhone users are prompted to download the Google Maps app (must be nice) but they can bypass that redirect and still successfully access maps.google.com if the user so chooses. Android users, trying various browsers, also have no problems making this a unique issue with Windows Phones only.

From a comment on this article by gmlongo:

"It is definitely on purpose.  If you change the user agent in Firefox (using User Agent Switcher) to "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows Phone 8.0; Trident/6.0; ARM; Touch; IEMobile/10.0", you get redirected to the Google home page. But if you set the user agent to "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows Phne 8.0; Trident/6.0; ARM; Touch; IEMobile/10.0" (notice I intentionally misspelled Windows Phone), the maps.google.com page comes up just fine. In other words, the only way I was able to get it to redirect is to have Windows Phone in the user agent string.  So something on Google's side is keying off the user agent for windows phone"

Google's continued assault on Windows Phone users

Google has famously proclaimed that they will not make apps for Windows Phone users to access their services and now they are evidently looking to deny any usage whatsoever. First it was their dropping of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) occurring later this month, which will prevent users from creating new accounts on their phones and syncing Gmail contacts and calendar, and then there was the YouTube incident.

That second complaint goes back to 2011 when Microsoft alleged that Google was not allowing access to YouTube metadata to the company, preventing Microsoft from releasing a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. Microsoft brought up the grievance again this week because it still has not been resolved, with Microsoft going so far as to allege Google is decisively blocking a “first rate” YouTube experience on Windows Phone.

Malevolent or just idiocy?

So the big question here is this part of the continued Google attack on Windows Phone users or just shoddy programming resulting in a bad redirect? We’re not too sure at this point and we’ll have to wait a few days to see if anything changes. It does certainly seem suspect though with the current back and forth between the two internet juggernauts, it only affecting Windows Phone browsers and with Google recently being “cleared” by the FTC of any egregious anti-competitive behavior.

We suppose if you were so inclined to use Google Maps you could just go ahead and use the excellent app gMaps Pro but outside of some really unique situations, we can’t see why you would prefer it over Bing or Nokia Maps.

In conclusion, we have to ask the question: is it time to actively boycott Google? We’re assuming a lot of you have made the move off of their ad-laden services but is it time to step it up a notch and go offensive with individual anti-Google campaigns? Perhaps.

via: WMPU


Reader comments

Is Google now blocking Windows Phone from using Google Maps?



It's not as if MSFT products aren't used to access Google's in any other instance. No... nobody who uses Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8 uses Google Chrome, youtube, or Google.com.
Locking out Windows Phone is a sad temper tantrum denying the reality that were it not for MSFT sofwares, youtube/google would like exist in different forms.

I don't have the advanced option in Internet Explorer settings on my wp7.5 phone. What phone and version are you using?

I have the lumia 900 with 7.5 and I can't set to google, don't even have the advanced setting in the IE

Microsoft offers Google Search in WP IE browser. It does not force you to use Bing. The hardware search button has to be Bing logically since it's a WP after all. Duh...

As far as I remember Bing, Yahoo or whatever.com is not an option on the Android embedded search, Am I wrong?

If you guys wanna solve this, use the app USER AGENT SWITCHER.
I also got redirected from maps.google.com but one changed to fake Android it worked perfectly, so shame on you Google. This is a low measure in your companys history.

That hurts WP in the long run, as ie10 won't be represented as it should when web devs see what browsers view their logs.

Oh would you look at that, lakelucas' wit carried over all the way from The Verge.
You're a clever one aren't ya? Where do you get your material from?

And you don't use WP because of what? Peer pressure? You're Apple cattle, always ready to line up at the trough for whatever is served up? You're an Android and Apple fan because you think having a tired and convoluted user experience is familiar and comforting? Sad troll. You obtuse piece of flotsam!

WP is a superior experience!

Normally I'd agree with you, but we have the chance to strike back at a Troll that thinks they can do this and get away with it. We can actually do something about this one. This Troll deserves it.

They do, in fact I again bought a  Lumia 800 since my S3 cant stop crashing (even on the newest XXELLA firmware) ........... enough said.

I am happy I don't use any of their evil services.
I know it's about principle... But still happy.

It was difficult at first but now i just feel so great, i have stopped using Google.co.uk, i use Bing now and i use IE instead of chrome!
Another tip guys if you are going to go to "any" website even if you could just type .com put it through Bing to increase the search hits! On popular sites i also only click the "ad" searches too!
I will never, well except YouTube, darn YouTube, use any other Google service/product and i will never support Apple.
Oh and most important point of ALL, people really need to start paying a few pounds here or there for apps! Come on we piss away money in real life, lets support devs that support Windows Phone!
Microsoft FTW!

I despise anonymous and their holier than thou "we make the rules" attitude... bunch of babies usually crying about nothing. Bur in this case I would like to beg them to do what the FTC should be doing... smack down google hard please.

Smh this is why i said office, smartglass, and xbox live games should not be shared. The only "exclusiveness" i see is being exclusively shunned

I tried using gmaps, and it sucks compared to nokia/bing maps. The app is u er slow, eats up my battery faster than the previously mentioned.

My only gripe is about both company hurting their customers.

Time for a compromise. Seriously, think of your customers first.

As far as Google is concerned, you are not a customer, you are a product! They don't like Microsoft steeling their inventory. Mapping services are only valuable to Google when the user is logged in. They don't know enough about WP users to target adds effectlively. Hence the disrespect.  


On Friday I wanted to get to the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Sydney's Entertainment Quarter. Nokia Maps directed me here: http://her.is/TQUQk


As it turns out, there are two Bent streets in close proximity - and this one is not in the Entertainment Quarter. So I was very confused when I got there... Google, on the other hand, showed me this spot. This is correct. Don't get me wrong, I love my Lumia and there's lots to like about WP7/8. But in many cases Google STILL has better maps, largely by virtue of having better search tech, and without access to Google I would have missed my date.


This kind of thing happens about half the time, such that if I'm going somewhere I've never been before, I have to cross-reference with Whereis and Google. I can't rely on Nokia/Bing maps alone, not yet.

I just tried it on my phone....worked fine.....however, was using desktop mode for the browser.  As soon as I switched to mobile mode then it didn't work!!

Odd, doesn't even work for me in Desktop Mode. Will be curious if that's just a caching thing and in a few hours it will change.

Just tried it again. .co.uk is working on desktop, but .com isn't on mine (I am in the UK, so maybe that makes a difference.  I reckon you are right though, all the google sites will do the same soon.  But I use the Nokia Maps anyway...other than YouTube I'm not really missing anything that Google has to offer me at the moment.

I tried both on my 920, Desktop and Mobile settings for both the US and UK sites.  Both redirected to m.google.com.  Glad I don't use it anymore.  But, the bigger issue is with other sites that use Google Maps to display their physical location.  That functionality is now blocked if someone browses to a website and wants to look where they are located if the site provides it.

This is really, really funny coming from MS fanbois.
Don't get me wrong, i love many MS products, Id never switch to a Mac or a Chromebook, but pretty much anyplace where MS and G have similar services, Google's is better by leaps and bounds. The new Windows mobile OSis a very slick looking product, but you can't expect a company to bend over backwards for a company with <3% market share. Right now Windows Phone is in the company of Palm when it comes to adoption rates (which Google also did not bend over backwards for).
Oh, and Google Maps doesnt work on your browsers because it's not a webkit browser.

But this used to work so its not IE its something google has actively changed, also have you used office 2013 or outlook.com lately they are superior to googles equivalent in almost every way. Regarding your MS fanboys comment unlike google Microsoft has been acting in a manner that promotes competition this whole time on all platforms even releasing Xbox smartglass for google. So don't try to ignore everything that doesn't suit your argument these recent moves by google are anti competitive... Also i apologies for any spelling errors i am typing this from my phone :)

If Microsoft is so open to competition, where is Office for android? That's right they only started to realize that they were missing the largest chunk of the smartphone market last year and it may be released this year sometime. Love my 822 and my GNex, but come on, they are both in it for the $. Nokia maps is great and all but not as feature rich as Google Navigation and Bing is no match for Google Now.

Why would you choose something you know exists and is coming to make this point? You've kind of defeated your own argument there.

Maybe you didn't read the article, but this isn't about Google not "bending over backwards" for Windows Phone.
Google are going out of their way to ensure Windows Phone users get a bad experience. They are specifically targeting Windows Phone and blocking the OS from receiving the same benefits that iOS and Android devices get. Maps would work perfectly on WP if Google wasn't intentionally redirecting users to the crippled version.

Well.. then they probably should've bought an Android device or an iOS device.
Google has a right to do with their free services as they please. Nobody is making you not use Bing or Nokia, nobody is forcing you to use WP. 
I think it's hilarious that people are getting downright pissed about this. I have an Android device, I sure wouldn't expect Apple to give me iCloud access, or iTunes. Where is the superfast IE10 for Android? iOS? Why are all of Microsoft's native Android apps so awful and dated? The ship sails both ways, and if you cut a company off enough and try to slit their throats, they're eventually going to bite back. 

Companies are in this business to do one thing, make money. If there is money to be had the company will move that way. Google unfortunately thinks that by not allowing their services from WP8 is will some how make WP8 fail and then draw those people to android. They can still make a ton of money on advertisements which is their #1 revenue maker so they are spiting themselves right now. Someone up top in Google is a little too arrogant and believes they can affect the populairty of another OS. I hope this bites them on the ass.

I dont know whether you noticed but they just agreed to settle regarding a government investigation over this sort of garbage. It is more of this sort of stuff that will get them a full blown anti-trust investigation out of the Justice Department. They just did agree to NOT actively block or cripple competitors through their sevices or market position. It is this sort of arrogance that will eventually end up in court in the US and EU, and it couldnt happen to a more amoral, unethical, and immature organization....

Google is a company that is continuously questioned for using its position to harm its competitors simply for its own gain/ Google is an excellent service, but their behaviour latelty is similar to Apple sueing Samsung all around the world. If something isn't broken, don't fix it, so why did they decide to "fix" Google Maps. IE10 is not on Android because there is no real reason to put it there. Google Chrome will always be the the best browser on Android, why waste their time building a browser when there is no profit to be made, and they will continuously encounter problems due to multiple different devices. If you don't like Microsoft's services on Android, no-on asked you to use them, Google and other third-parties will have alternatives. Google feels that because of the low user base on Windows Phone, it doesn't have to develop applications. I believe they have a point there. What I don't believe is justified is that Google, offering a free service which it gets no profit from (online) descides that it want to block Google Maps, after users could easily use it before. Google makes no profit from putting Google Maps on any service apart from reviews and promoting business in an area.

And Microsoft hsn't been continuously questioned for using it's position to harm it's competitors?  Pot, Kettle, Black.

Actually, this is untrue. There are antitrust laws that may be triggered byGoogle with this move, especially considering Google is a leader in mapping technology.

Also, Microsoft's apps for Android aren't dated. They get many things, such as Photosynth, before us.

Microsoft 'went out of their way' to run smear campaigns against Google, lobbied against Google and publicly lobbied against Google. Karma is a cold hard b**** and Google is now showing Microsoft just how cold it can be. Sit back and watch the show. Microsoft brought this on their own users.

You do know that you sound pretty dumb now right? They don't have to do anything for MS sure... but are they allowed to actively block thier services NO! This is the issue, get back when you understand the problem.

Your webkit argument would make sense except for the fact that it works on desktop IE10 which is also not a webkit browser.

The mobile web app is WebKit only (Safari, Android browser, Chrome, etc.), so no support for the Trident-based IE. However, the desktop web app is built to be compatible with all major browsers and layout engines (including WebKit, Gecko, and Trident and possibly Presto). Desktop web app != mobile web app.

but you can't expect a company to bend over backwards for a company with <3% market share.

How exactly is Google "bending over backwards"? We're not asking for some special treatment. They've literally just excluded WP8 users specifically, for no reason.

Oh, and Google Maps doesnt work on your browsers because it's not a webkit browser.

Google Maps works on desktop IE, it has nothing to do with the browser's engine.
This has nothing to do with marketshare or adoption rates. Google is not supporting Windows Phone because Bing services are built-in. It supports Android and iOS because Google's own servives are built in, or there are no default competitors. That's it. "Marketshare" is currently a convenient excuse for Google.

>but pretty much anyplace where MS and G have similar services, Google's is better by leaps and bounds
MOoohahahaha are you kidding?
Outlook.COM > Gmail
Skydrive > Google Apps
Google search wins, fair enough (But I use BING first, and only resort to Google for search by date)
YoutTube, MS have no equivalent so your point doesn't hold
Office 365 > GMail Enterprise (have you even looked at these stacks?!)
I prefer the email experience (EAS is waaayyyyy better than IMAP and covers more than email)
I prefer the tight integration with my one account and ID (my Xbox, Skydrive, Outlook, Office 365, OneNote)
Its a way way better combination than anything Google has. Google has Search and YouTube, the rest is better on MS (and added Nokia for location) IMHO :)

Completely agree. It's a shame that I have to rely on Google for YouTube. Besides that, I wouldn't choose Google for any of those other things. I feel like sometimes Google is better for search on some specific searches, but I've done too many comparison searches to try and say that Google is better. If only someone else owned YouTube other than Google... I think Microsoft could put their weight into a YouTube competitor. Buying Vimeo would be a good start.

There's a pretty big difference difference between choosing not to develop new products for WP due to market share concerns, versus intentionally preventing WP from accessing services that were previously accessible. It's enlightening to see that Google has the emotional maturity of my 5 year old.

The webkit argument doesn't hold water. A user in the comments of this very post tested this. Maps.google.com isn't allowing the webkit user agent... It is specifically denying the windows phone ie10 user agent. That is intentional and blantant blocking of windows phone.

Brendilon, you are spouting bullshit. Please read up on the situation and pull your head out. Or don't, doesn't really matter I guess.

come on MS would it be to hard to update the service pack on all versions of windows OS to refuse to load anything google related.. If there want to play dirty afterall :)

MS will not do this kind of act, MS doesn't mind support everythings if many users are already using the service.

And then MS would get his with another antitrust lawsuit.
I expect this sort of stupidity from iSheep, I guess I had thought better of WP users. Now I know better.

Why? Why is it OK for Google to act this way, and not MS. Why are you down on MS and not down on Google. Surely they are the evil ones in this instance? I smell and Android / Google fan in you.

Ok, now you're just pi.ssing me off. I'm not a fanboy of anything, but I like the direction Microsoft is going right now and that is why I support the platform. The way Google is acting has made me start ditching their services as much as I can, and if Microsoft would do what Google is doing I would ditch them too. If Microsoft did what you're suggesting and get away with it, then where would we draw the line?
What makes Windows great is that it's open to everyone and all manufacurers can licence it (unlike the crap OSX where you have to go through hoops to make the drivers work on your PC). This battle between Microsoft and Google should not come down to taking customers hostage, they should fight it out in a courtroom, and that is exactly what Microsoft will do if it comes to that. I have confidence in the new "Good Guy Microsoft" that they will make this as painless for the users as they possibly can.
So, I suggest YOU stop your rediculous Fanboyism and start looking at things from a realistic perspective.
Regards from a happy Microsoft customer

Well said. I do really like the "new" Microsoft. I couldn't see them acting this way. They actually try to care about the customer, unlike Google has been lately. I really hope MS keeps this up.

Exactly Right.
The way MS "gets back" is to succeed, and the way they succeed is to continue to offer the best user experience no matter what app, software, website, etc we choose to use. Stay open MS!!

They won't do this because unlike Google, they aren't in the business of punishing users for their own little spats with other companies.

That we completely screw over consumers, and it would even make crapple just a little bit more appealing to some windows users. But in the end the would completely be a D*** move on microsofts part...

Wow! If this is true and Microsoft is being denied certain things from Google they should simply remove all Google apps, programs, ECT from all there Windows desktops. Guarantee Google would complain then!

Maybe this is a game of chess. Maybe Google wants MS to retailiate by doing everything you mention. If MS is smart, they take the high road. People hate evil empires (just ask MS)  and like the underdog.

Naw, I'm like that, and I used to think there were others like me.
But what I realized is that people still think that Google is the underdog even though they basically own the internet (search). They think Google is aultruistic just because that preach open souce (even though they don't allways stick to be being open) and not just a giant advertising company that bullies its way into market domination.
So people still like to dump on MS for decades old sins even though they are the underdogs in mobile and search.

Google is trying to play god again. Remember how they denied the entire population of China before? Adding that to windows users elsewhere in the world, they can have their own kingdom...

"In conclusion, we have to ask the question: is it time to actively boycott Google?". AYE!!!  I dont use any google services and I always wonder why some people seem so dependent on them, especially when they seem to be going out of their way to make life difficult for users of Microsoft's platforms. I have Nokia maps, and if I didnt have that I already bought Navigon on my DVP so navigation is not an issue, bing search works fine, Outlook.com rocks, so why are so many so in love with google and feel they MUST have their services?
They are giving you the finger, dont just bend over and take it, give it to them right back as well!!!

If you change the UA string to android it works fine, so it's not programming, just Google being a spoiled little b****. Just like crash IE, where if you change the UA string to not IE everything works in IE. F' THEM!

You can use Fiddler as a proxy for Windows Phone traffic (over WiFi), which allows you to change UA strings of anything passing through it.  There may be other options, but that is by far the easiest if you have a WiFi network with both a PC and a WP device on it.

MS needs to build a real competitor for YouTube. It's the last Google service I still use. Vimeo would be a good start if they bought it, but I don't see it happening due to the large volume of NSFW content, and the fact that MS are prudes... And the existent user base would likely boycott Vimeo if they got rid of all the booby-movies.

Google's mission statement: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."

So, I guess they don't even follow their own standards.

They excluded China in the "world" long ago...Maybe they should pull andriod out of chinese market as well..

Yeah like anyone in China cares. There's local versions of everything in China, so unless you're a foreigner you probably don't ever need access to google services in China.

For the record, Bing Maps is simply terrible (In Canada at least, it would make Apple Maps look downright amazing). Plus, there's the fact that only Google Map on the web offers transit directions for WP users. No idea if Nokia Maps is any better, though I doubt it can be worse.

That's not true. Check for example central Asian countries. Google has detailed street maps within the city's while Nokia only has the highways between the major cities and nothing else. And the funny fact: Nokia advertises this as navigation. For most European cities Nokia or Bing naps are outdated compared to Google maps too. Plus their POI suck completely. If you search for a McDonald's it might happen that you get directed to a city in the US.

No. That's because you have not downloaded the maps for these countries, hence you're seeing highways only. Stop spreading false info as Nokia Maps / Bing Maps is working perfectly fine here.

The only thing I hate about Bing Maps in Canada is that the address are catalogued by township instead of town. It can make things harder to find.

Already abandoned all google services so could care less. Bing has worked perfectly for all my needs.

Come on windows phone fans forget about google we have a great mapping experience on windows phone, let's stop giving google anything to beat their chests about our maps are better anyway....really SCREW GOOGLE..haven't use there maps since 2010.

Bing maps works well, not Nokia maps (POIs). We need to actively pursue Nokia to update their POI database and/or combine it with Bing's POI database. Then I will be satisfied with Nokia maps.

first ditching Exchange support for Gmail client in favor of inferior IMAP. then they said they will not develop any google application for windows platform and now blocking maps. seriously who is the dick here? I have an android tablet and I run Microsoft One note Just fine as well as Sky drive and Bing. do you see any google application in Windows 8 Metro or Phone? F**ck u Google. Now I understand why apple ditched google map for they crappy Map. The realized it sooner

OneNote on Android is pretty shi**y and same goes for Bing, MS just can't do good Android apps...besides, whou could blame Google for not making apps for such unpopular OS as WP. Don't get me wrong, I like WP and one of my favourite phones of last year was HTC 8X but WP just never catched on...

see, the problem isn't them not making apps for wp right now, it's this actively blocking wp that is pissing ppl off

And why does MS continue to support apps for android? Like SkyDrive etc..
Wondering why Google is in bed with Apple but nasty with MS?

Apple doesn't offer / include a competing web search service.
When you search the web from iOS' Spotlight, it opens a Google search.
When you search for something on a Windows Phone, it uses Bing.
If Apple had their own search engine, and it was built in to the OS from the beginning (how Bing is on a Windows Phone), Google would not be so friendly with Apple.

Skydrive is important to have on Android.
Same with Skype. More people using it, the better.

Yeah I was part of that discussion (or one just like it). It's been this way for a long time. Months at the very least.

I had dropped most Google services a year before today's events. At present I have one Gmail account only used for access to YouTube. Too bad there is nothing else out there besides YouTube...

Actually all MS needs to do is revoke Google's EAS license. Without access to Exchange and the EAS features on their own mail/app services Android and Google Apps will be dropped from the enterprise completely.

Microsoft prefers partnership over this kind of action. Perhaps EAS license will be revoked but will open MS to legal action.

I have a vimeo account for video shari,g now, so I could get rid if YouTube (which has become too ad infested anyway). Now MS only needs to fix Bing in my country (still in beta) and in the other places where it isn't working well, then I'm google-free. Hey, life on the internet worked before google, why shouldn't it work afterwards !

Adblock. I haven't seen an ad on Youtube in years. Though I am rightly disgusted when I used YouTube on someone else's Pc without adblock installed.

+11111 I've been using AdMuncher for years and hadn't realize that YouTube has been taken over by ad infestation until I was on someone else's PC and wondered where all the ads came from. Now I laugh whenever I have to go on YouTube and know that I'm not seeing all the ads on there. :)

I can't access either so this is sad for everyone but this kind of attitude can not be tolerated, especially when you are in a free market and everyone should have acccess to this services.We should do something about it  'cause they have gone too far this time .....

Microsoft should step up the game and sue the fuck out of Google. Not that I would use their crappy services anyways.

Not sure why this is a big deal.  Google Maps hardly even worked at all in mobile IE anyway.  I can understand Google deciding to end support for it if making it work well was going to take a lot of work that they didn't feel was worth investing in.  Now, if it actually was a mostly or purely political decision, or if they take away YouTube (which works beautifully in mobile IE), then there's something to be upset about.

Germany :
Went to maps.google.com, got redirected to Google Main page (google.com/m?site=local& ).
i dont care, using nokia maps. :)

I have entirely stopped using google services. Google is nothing more than an ad company. They have survived and thrived this long due to their geek cred. But moves like this will turn the tide against them. Once that cachet is gone, it would be easy to overthrow the big g.

Not visited google maps for years, been going to Bing. Screw them, I also closed all my google accounts a while back (mainly because I didn't use them)

So Microsoft got sued because of packing the Windows operating system with the Internet Explorer browser. Google is going to block all it's services on Windows Phone? If Microsoft would do the same, they would get sued again because it's baaad....
Google will lose it's own users because of itself, not because of the competition.

I guess Google want to play god again...they went against the whole population in China years ago and now they picked WP usesrs. I'd encourage them to pull off windows as a whole and that would certainly do them good. They set 20% of the earth population as enemy already, wouldnt hurt to add another 60% on their list. 

So googles really spitting its dummy out now! As much as id love MS to drop the hammer on them and lets face it...they could!!

I respect the way MS is standing back and letting google have its little tantrum, everytime google makes a move against MS and not Apple, etc... They simply hand more legal ammunition to MS, with that in mind i say, "Bring it on google!"

I tried to navigate to maps.google.com and was greeted with the google search site. Then I realised that I haven't used google maps for ages as Bing and Nokia maps are more than sufficient for me. Add Nokia Drive to the mix and google maps becomes inapplicable.

I experienced this issue since the inception of WP8 (I was at Windows Phone 8 launch event). Google somehow think IE10 is inferior where as IE10 is the only browser that supports complete Html5 stack. Google is being weird these days.

I also do not use their services, but I could see this being a deal breaker to a less savvy smartphone buyer. "Can't use Google stuff on that one? Oh, guess I'll get Android then..."

This is not good. They are slimeballs if doing this intentionally.

just start a new service called MetroTube.  just kidding. I'm sure this is just a technical error on Google's end for mobile browsers because IE 10 on desktop works fine.  it's not a big practical deal, but a significant symbolic one if otherwise.

No seriously.... They should do it, MetroTube ... Since Google loves copying, two (or three/four) can play that game.

maps.google.com took me to a mobile version of the search option, .co.uk took me to maps as you would expect. Not sure what to make that result.

I have been mostly boycotting Google for a couple of years now for everything but YouTube and the occasional need for StreetView. It's hard to believe what assholes they are becoming but I suppose they feel a bit emboldened after the FTC dropped the ball. If the feds are going to stay out of the fight then it should be fair for Microsoft  to make life miserable for Google on Windows.

It certainly seems intentional.  If you change the user agent in Firefox (using User Agent Switcher) to "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows Phone 8.0; Trident/6.0; ARM; Touch; IEMobile/10.0", you get redirected to the google home page. 
But if you set the user agent to "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows Phne 8.0; Trident/6.0; ARM; Touch; IEMobile/10.0" (notice I intentionally mispelled Windows Phone), the maps.google.com page comes up just fine.
In other words, the only way I was able to get it to redirect is to have Windows Phone in the user agent string.  So something on Google's side is keying off the user agent for windows phone.