It wasn't an overnight thing, it wasn't rushed and Apple didn't "scramble"
That article was dated October 29, 2011. It refers to Apple acquisitions going back to 2009 in the mapping space.
Their plans to build their own maps goes back years. Years of effort was put into that application and although I dont think its relavent, it happened when Steve was alive.
Apple isn't falling to its doom. Nor is it Apple's 90's era all over again.
Steve is gone. Apple wasn't a one man show. There are thousands of Apple employee's that do their job — their passion — to make these extraordinary products and have done before and after Steve. Why is the tech media having a hard time understanding that?
Give it 6 months (not the Eric Schmidt kind) and it will be the best maps experience we will ever know.