Things between Google and Microsoft have been a bit, erm, strained lately, with Microsoft recently claiming that Google is blocking a fully-featured YouTube app from hitting Windows Phone. Now a new issue has emerged that certainly won't help to smooth matters out. Many Windows Phone users in The Verge forums are reporting today that trying to navigate to maps.google.com in their device's browser re-routes them to Google's home page, leaving them unable to access Google Maps on the web. Interestingly, some users are reporting that they're able to access maps.google.co.uk.
Neither Google nor Microsoft has commented on this matter yet, so it's not yet clear what exactly is causing Google Maps to be inaccessible to Windows Phone users. It seems more likely that this is some bug that simply needs squashing rather than an intentional effort by Google to block Windows Phone users from Google Maps, but considering how things have been going between Google and Microsoft lately, this issue is still likely to ruffle the feathers of some Windows Phone users. We'll give you a shout once we hear more on this matter. Until then, you Windows Phone folk may want to consider another service for you mapping needs.
UPDATE: The Verge notes that Google Maps on the web is intended for use with WebKit browsers, which Internet Explorer on Windows Phone is not. Google reiterated that in a statement given to Gizmodo, but some Windows Phone users have been able to access the page in the past (and some still can visit the U.K. version), so it's not clear why users are having trouble with the web version of Google Maps now. Google's statement to Gizmodo is available in full below:
"The mobile web version of Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers such as Chrome and Safari. However, since Internet Explorer is not a WebKit browser, Windows Phone devices are not able to access Google Maps for the mobile web."