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March 15, 2010

Google and Apple

New York Times has an interesting article about the evolution of Google's relationship with Apple. If three years ago Google was an important partner for Apple, Android's launch and its growing popularity eroded the relationship.

"In the last six months, Apple and Google have jousted over acquisitions, patents, directors, advisers and iPhone applications. This month, Apple sued HTC, the Taiwanese maker of mobile phones that run Google's Android operating system, contending that HTC had violated iPhone patents. The move was widely seen as the beginning of a legal assault by Apple on Google itself, as well as an attempt to slow Google's plans to extend its dominion to mobile devices."

While Steve Jobs, Apple's visionary CEO, says that "Google wants to kill the iPhone" and "<<Don't be evil>> is a load of crap", Google's co-founders "spoke very openly about their admiration for Jobs and how he's a role model for them." It's an interesting antithesis between Apple and Google that goes beyond the openness of the mobile ecosystem: for Google, the process is more important than the results. Android's goal is to "get mobile OS development moving more rapidly" and that's not a selfish ambition.

This quote is meaningful:

"People close to the company say [that Larry Page and Sergey Brin] are disappointed that the relationship with Apple has soured. Still, they and other Google executives see the company's push to open up the industry and to succeed in mobile computing as too important to sacrifice just to placate Mr. Jobs."

Google doesn't want to "kill the iPhone", it only wants to push things forward.


  1. I think Google is a pretty cool company that does a number of things for the right reason. But I would hardly argue that they made Android simply to spur mobile OS development; they are trying to make sure they don't get locked out of the mobile space. They want to control their product (search/advertising) just as Apple wants to control their product (the user experience).

  2. Forward thinking for human communication up against forward thinking for a corporation. Which is which, seems unclear.

  3. Bullshit. GOOG is afraid AAPL will start serving their own ads on all those iPhones. That's why GOOG paid so much for AdMob- to keep it away from AAPL.

  4. @ Seth & Tom,

    It's true that Google does want to advance computing, Internet and the mobile experience in order to show more ads and make more money. It just so happens that the open advancement of these technologies also helps countless people all over the world. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    Contrast that with the closed and controlled and limiting advancement of other companies like legacy telecom companies and Apple. These companies actually try to hold things back from advancing too rapidly if it doesn't suit their bottomline. And they have no concern for users at all. This is a win-lose situation, with users being the losers in the long run.

    Don't know about you guys, but I'd rather choose the win-win deal that Google gives me. The day Google starts to acts like the legacy companies and leans towards the win-lose deal, I will drop them in a second.

    A S

  5. To the author: do you work for google or something? Why do you feel so compelled to vouch for their good intentions all the time?

  6. "Google doesn't want to "kill the iPhone", it only wants to push things forward."

    It is just about money..stop with the red herring

  7. It's easy to think that everything is about money, but it's not. Google could easily earn a lot of money by adding banners to the homepage or adding contextual ads to each Gmail message. Google could continue to censor search results in China and earn a lot of money from advertising, but it will probably close its operations in China soon. Sometimes it's about values and long-term goals.

  8. @ Alex Chitu nice overton window, however the topic specifically is about Google and Apple not china,gmail or advertising. Nothing you stated is regarding apple or the topic.

  9. I think that it is important to note that the fullfilment of Google's goal - the opening up of the mobile computing market, will in fact kill the Iphone. This is because Apple's ability to charge a premium for its products is rooted in their de facto monopoly on good design. Apple is completely incapable of surviving in an open system, and Google is pushing hard for exactly that. Whether Google wants an open system for its own sake or simply wants its competitors dead by any means necessary, the route they take there - and the result achieved, will be exactly the same.

  10. Well, IMHO, till Apple didn't have serious competitor, it was happy. Now that Google has rushed in and at a supersonic pace, Apple's running helter skelter. MS couldn't compete with Google's pace and is now following it. Apple's cribbing cos' it dunn want to be in the same boat as MS.

    All those who are clamoring for Apple, just because Apple is in phone business, shouldn't anyone else have a shot at it?

    If Apple has guts, let it make better apps than Google and let the end user decide which one he needs.


  11. "Android's goal ... and that's not a selfish ambition."

    Funny (except that some people are naïve enough to believe that)

  12. Alex - thank you for the article. It is sometimes easy to forget the differences between the two technology titans, one being the difference in their long term goals and purpose, and the other - in how restrictive or open they are with their products and services. The example you brought in your article is another manifestation of those differences.

  13. @A S

    You said it all right there. I could not agree more.

  14. "Funny (except that some people are naïve enough to believe that)"

    Ooh, such a cool cynic.

    Except that it's an open source OS.
    If it did become bloated with ads, carriers could get a competitive advantage by forking their own version of Android for their handsets.


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