Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

Summary: On the client computing front, it's shocking how much Apple, Microsoft and Google are starting to look alike. The real battle is in the cloud though.

SHARE:

Google, Apple and Microsoft are duking it out on so many fronts assessing them can be a bit overwhelming. Meanwhile, the three companies have different business models, but increasingly bridge the enterprise and consumer markets.

In the end, these three look like every other vendor---they're selling you a stack of stuff.

The comparison between the three companies was the crux of a presentation at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando. On Monday, we looked at Apple and Google and their enterprise potential. Add Microsoft in the mix and the cloud and client collision is obvious. In addition, Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility changes the client side equation. Why? Motorola puts Google into the tablet market and set-top box business.

Related: Google Apps for business: 0.5 percent of Google's revenue, says Gartner |   Apple's enterprise approach: Passive aggressive

Add it up and you have a stack like this:

The real stack battle comes in cloud services. On the cloud front, it's clear that the race is between Google and Microsoft on the consumer front. On the enterprise side, Microsoft has an ambitious cloud strategy.

Consider:

  • On the business and information front, Apple has iAd; Microsoft has AdCenter and Bing; and Google has AdSense. Advantage: Google.
  • On Saas, Apple has iTunes; Microsoft has CRM Online, Office 365 and Windows Live; and Google has Apps and Gmail. Advantage: Microsoft and Google. Apple's iTunes looks crowbarred into Gartner's presentation.
  • On platform as a service, Apple is unknown; Microsoft has Azure; and Google has App Engine. Advantage: Microsoft.
  • On infrastructure as a service, Apple has iCloud; Microsoft has Azure; and Google has nothing. Advantage: No one because Amazon Web Services has the infrastructure play.
  • On apps, Apple and Android blow Microsoft away.

Add it up and these stack snapshots are just a moment in time. The battle between Apple, Microsoft and Google is likely to run for decades.

Topics: Apple, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

15 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    iCloud isn't IAAS.
    craigvn@...
    • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

      @craigvn@... and iTune isn't really a SAAS.

      btw: why don't we just call Apple a religion and sacrifice ourselves for it?
      yoroto
      • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

        @yoroto

        And what is your religion? Microsoft? Google/Android?

        If you say that your preference isn't a religion, that's exactly what a Mac/iOS user would say to you.

        ;-)
        Harvey Lubin
    • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

      @craigvn@...

      Spot On.. +1 to you. Who ever wrote those points are not aware of what infrastructure as a service is...
      ricecube
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    MS has more apps than appl and google combined - you should correct that and i guess MS has the advantage on the bottom 4
    lefleur1987
    • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

      @lefleur1987

      If you're talking about MS's desktop operating system, and not WP7 (which is pitiful compared to iOS and Android's selection), then you would be wrong.

      Macs can run not only the hundreds of thousands of Mac OS X applications, but also run ALL of the available Windows applications as well.

      Whereas, Windows PCs can only run Windows applications... but no Mac OS X applications.
      Harvey Lubin
      • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

        @Harvey Lubin Easy, tiger. You need a Windows license to run Windows applications on a Mac (unless using WINE, which doesn't offer 100% performance scaling or stability). So you can't say Macs run OSX apps AND Windows apps. To put the shoe on the other foot, Windows PCs can dualboot OSX (even if not 'legally') or run OSX in a VM. One could just as foolishly state "Windows can run Windows apps AND Mac apps!"<br><br>Your argument is invalid. Windows on desktop has the most applications hands down.
        Imrhien
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    AWS versus Azure. You need to educate yourself a little more. Seriously.
    hubivedder
  • Missed a few category

    One very important product category that was forgotten is Enterprise Data infrastructure. That category includes Databases server, server operating system, email solutions, Intranets application, ERP solutions. Oh??? its true Apple is just nowhere to be seen here. They are way too creating hype on a mildly refreshed Iphone that will sell by millions to zombie followers
    Another category is development environment. That includes coding languages, development applications, things like Visual Studio and .NET infrastructure. Once again, Apple is just too busy approving 1$ useless apps to fill its Itune store??? and its bank account.
    gbouchard99@...
    • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

      @gbouchard99@...

      "Another category is development environment. That includes coding languages, development applications, things like Visual Studio and .NET infrastructure. "

      Not a developer but I've heard Xcode is quite good for free.
      itguy10
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    People at Gartner needs to be educated. This is non-sense.
    owlnet
  • hmm

    Microsoft is no longer an innovator and Google just wants to be Apple and copies everything, did you hear now they want to open Google stores in the malls like someone else is doing?
    Hasam1991
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    You need to separate the consumer space form the the enterprise space. The future looks to be with the consumer space, as IT is increasingly being forced / dragged to respond to what users want (which is changing the IT model quickly).
    While Gartner is more wrong than right about new technology adoption (they tend to be very backwards looking as they are data driven), it is not a reason to throw all their data out. Their stacks miss understand where the market is going and who has what - some of which is based on the fact that Google, MSFT and Apple have different business models.
    Most of Apple successes can be traced back to Next Net Objects software, it is what runs iTunes, the Apple Store and now the front end of iCloud, it is more mature than any of the offerings from MSFT and Google.
    And Xcode the development environment for both OSX and iOS is the place to be right now in software development and is gaining more developers than any other environment in terms of new programers (across all types independent and enterprise).
    Apple is also more like Amazon in that their greatest asset is the number of users who have credit cards on file with Apple making them capable of micro payments for anything they offer both directly and through partners.
    MSFT's will need to make Windows 8 a success beyond the enterprise to continue to be a player (they realize this and are finally responding accordingly but it is still an open question).
    kpbpsw
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    Admittedly this article and the diagram are a little simplistic, but I have been considering these three giants recently and how directly they compete on every level. It will certainly be interesting in the coming years to see who will dominate. I just hope it's not Apple because I couldn't cope with their premium pricing and walled-garden approach...
    Imrhien
  • RE: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: A look at the stacks

    I'm sorry, but the amount of apps/software for Windows dwarfs the sh*t out of Google or Apple's apps.
    jhammackHTH