11 thoughts on “Apple-vs.-Google Chronicles: The Fall 2009 Edition”

  1. Wow .. This is getting exciting.
    For Apple it is a known territory having already fought mighty ones like MS but Google is probably a newbie but a very strong newbie.


    It’s amazing how that fledgling, upstart search company ie.. GOOG) that I read about in 1999 has shaken up companies in a wide range of sectors:
    – consumer software = MSFT
    – consumer hardware = AAPL
    – consumer telecom = Nokia, Motorola etc.
    In the battle between Apple and Google it seems to come down to how Apple controls who and how much one leverage the Apple ecosystem versus how Google has a more open ecosystem. For example, Apple has to approve of any iPhone app, only one company sells iPhones (i.e. Apple). On the other hand (I think) Google has a more open approach to creating apps for Android, and certainly multiple hardware vendors (e.g., Motorola, HTC) can make Android phones.

    If I were a software developer I may want to create apps for the Android platform – since there will probably be more Android phones which will mean more potential customers. The open strategy usually wins because more people benefit (both the vendor and the developer and the customer)!

    1. Since when is Google an open platform? They only want an open world in those markets where they are a challenger.

      I would love to see Google open up their index and search platforms to developers. That would allow for more advances. Unfortunately, I doubt this will ever happen.

      1. Thank you for your comment – I learn something new (… usually more than one thing!) every day. I would love to know more areas where Google has an open platform (e.g., Android) and where it does not (e.g., index and search).

    2. I disagree with your belief that

      ~Open = good
      ~Closed = bad

      What Apple is doing at the App Store is like running a 7/11 store. The owner of a store carefully checks up on the quality the product and the reliability of the supplier before they agree to allow them counter space. The owner need not personally like a product, just so his customers do.

      So, what’s the problem here? Why shouldn’t Apple allow anyone to post an App? They get the same money whether the customer is satisfied or not.

      It is that Fly-by-night developers can rip off the customers. This reflects on Apple’s brand so they must give guide lines of what apps they will permit. Sometimes, they have contractual obligations which forbid certain Apps. Sometimes, they have to think very long and hard over whether to allow one. It isn’t as though anyone has a right to place an App in Apple space. Apple owns the store that they created.

      As you can see this is neither open nor closed, but is controlled. Any application needs to enhance Apple’s brand name. Some apps are rude, vulgar or childish, so they may appeal to immature customers. The App store is very new and Apple needs to think carefully where it wants the store to go. In this case

      ~Open = irresponsible

  3. People are trying to create a Big Rivalry here where none exists. Everybody knows the gorilla in the room is still MSFT; they have almost 90% of the PC market, and people will continue to have a poor, out-dated computing experience until that number is MUCH lower. Android is MUCH more of a threat to WinMo than to Apple. WinMo has shown first blood; it’s wounded and MSFT’s plans for it are– confusing at best. Android is said to be great software, and they may get some decent hardware makers behind it, but only Apple controls BOTH hardware and software; thus, insuring great user experience (as much as ANYTHING can be insured with a complex device like a smartphone). My prediction: Apple will grab the number one spot going forward, as it continues to improve the iPhone and take share. Android will also do OK, but less so. We’re taking a big and growing market here– a long term winner will not be defined until we see where we are in 3-5 years.

  4. I don’t buy it. Google and Apple are not natural competitors; one does not steal money from the other. Apple sells hardware and Google sells ads. Do they overlap? Sure.

    But, even in this there is no competition.

    Apple created an OS and a Web Browser to aid in selling its hardware. This can be used for light duty work such as the Internet, running search engines and web applications. But primarily, Macs are used for heavy duty applications which cannot be transferred to the web.

    Google is creating an OS and a Web Browser to aid in selling its internet services, ads, search engines and web applications. Google’s Chrome is a light duty OS which is used for applications which cannot be transferred to a computer. Its ideal application, currently, is a Netbook. But, this will expand to take over every computer that Apple does not want.

    Apple sells its hardware into the upper half of the consumer market. It avoids selling to the lower half which is e-waste having a razor thin profit margin. Apple also has traditional niche markets in education, graphics and design. Apple has an increasing numbers of consumer electronics products.

    Apple is interested in the lower end of the Enterprise market — the Small to Medium sized Businesses and the servers which are sold to them. It shows no interest in the higher end of Enterprise — government sales and Big businesses with IT departments. This is because selling to them would change Apple’s consumer marketing plan. Apple does not mind when employees sneak their products into Enterprise companies, but isn’t pushing it.

    Google makes its money from the advertisements you see while using its internet services. Google has had trouble with Microsoft disrupting its services, so it created a web browser to prevent being sabotaged by MS’s Internet explorer.Google will be producing an Linux based Operating System to replace Microsoft Windows, later this year. It has created a mobile phone OS to compete with Windows Mobile.

    While these things may have some effect on Apple, primarily they are to replace Microsoft in markets where Apple does not choose to serve. The hope is that Apple and Google will force Microsoft out of the Consumer market into an Enterprise niche.

    1. Louis

      You make a passion and compelling argument. I agree with some of your points, but you have to view the rivalry between these two companies from the lens of mobile Internet.

      The two companies at each other from two different angles. Google from the ad world while Apple is coming from hardware side. they will eventually collide with each other as they both want to sell smart phones in a big way.

      Google wants to sell more ads (even on the mobile) and in order to do that it needs to not only have its ad-services designed into mobile apps/web sites, it need the scale that comes with millions of devices.

      Apple on the other wants to leverage its iPhone platform into a similar stature and garner developer attention and keep gaining momentum/scale. It needs to do that in order to sell millions of phones with higher margins.

      Everything else, I wouldn’t argue too much with you 🙂

      1. There is such a thing s a friendly rivalry. Steve Jobs is very competitive, but he isn’t underhanded in the way that Bill Gates is. Winning isn’t the only thing with Steve; he believes that excellence will win in the end. This keeps him from being nasty — or desperate.

        There are two phone markets now: feature phones and Smart Phones. The feature phones comprise the bulk of the market and it is where the iPhone sales have mostly been coming from. The Smart Phone market increased to 150 million out of a billion phones and Apple got over 30 million of that.

        The question is if the Android OS will be trying to do the same things as the iPhone, or will it take over the feature phones while Apple upgrades Smart Phones to Computer Phones? How much of the market does Steve Jobs want and how desperate is he to get it?

        I suspect that there are a number of different niches in the mobile Phone market. Many people want just a basic phone while others want all the bells and whistles.

        Apple is always going to able to out compete other Smart Phone makers. It has the economies of scale, now. It has a stable Operating System while Google is many years away from stability, efficiency, ease of use and panache. Google knows it can’t beat Apple on anything but price. That is why Android is free.

        The iPhone is a sideline for Apple. The reason that it is said that Apple got into the business was that every one of Apple’s executives hated their phones.

        The most important indicator of success for the iPhone is the Apps Store. That is what will change everything.

        Not every one will want their phone to run applications, but they do want their phone to work better than phones do now.

        There are a billion phones that Apple and Google can fight over. Google is likely to become the Chevy of phones while Apple is the Lexis. There is plenty of money to made in each category. Neither manufacturer must necessarily consider the other in their class.

  5. I can see where open and free distribution of the building blocks of new media can be beneficial to a large company that makes its money off the overarching apparatus (which they fully control) that uses those building blocks. The rub comes in where the large company uses its size and influence to take what they want to give away. Case in point, Google has made what many feel to be a significantly undervalued offer for On2 Tech. On2 of course has developed IP and patents on many breakthrough compression codecs and embedded mobile chip tech (via their Hantro operations). Google will now buy On2 for little to nothing, destroy the company and its shareholders’ investments – then give On2’s codecs (VP8) and maybe even tech (Hantro 9190) away to enhance it larger position in capturing the exploding new media market via YouTube, Android and other platforms. May be good for Google, but for small companies like On2 whose engineers and shareholders applied their lives and fortunes to developing the technology that is driving the video revolution (with some hope of adequate reward) a virtual crime is in the making. Maybe Apple or another large player will put in a counter-offer soon to stop Google in its On2 tracks before they have another building block to dominate the market. Google: “Do No Evil”…what a joke.

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