It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

Summary: The resignation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple's board of directors merely confirms what has been clear for some time---the two companies will increasingly compete in the mobile market.It's Android vs.


The resignation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple's board of directors merely confirms what has been clear for some time---the two companies will increasingly compete in the mobile market.

It's Android vs. the iPhone and the games are just about to begin.

In a statement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said:

Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.

That's true, but let's face it---the Chrome OS isn't the competition Apple is worried about. It's Android and an army of phones powered by Google that would put Schmidt in recusal limbo every Apple board meeting.

The true irony of all of this is that much of the iPhone's value has been its tight integration with Google. That integration may not be as tight going forward.

Google had native access to the iPhone at first. YouTube, search, Google Maps and Google Earth are so tightly integrated that the two companies are merged on the iPhone. That state of affairs began to change with Google Latitude.

Let's check off some of the recent mileposts:

Unfortunately, since there is no mechanism for applications to run in the background on iPhone (which applies to browser-based web apps as well), we’re not able to provide continuous background location updates in the same way that we can for Latitude users on Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Window Mobile…


Now Google will increasingly get to the iPhone via the browser and that interaction just isn't the same.

Also see: Image Gallery: Hands on with the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Google Android device

Now Google and Apple still need each other. Do you really think Apple will default to Bing for search? However, things have clearly changed. For instance, Google could get chummy with Research in Motion, which allows it to use Google Voice native. The iPhone base is huge, but RIM ain't chump change.

Bottom line: Google doesn't have to give Apple any better treatment than any other vendor. And it's likely that Apple may get worse treatment (by it's own choosing).

So what does this road forward look like?

Google's best features, apps and competitive edge will reside on Android-powered phones. Do you honestly think the best Google Earth and Google Maps experience will be found on other phones? Motorola could gain a lot here.

Apple will have to rely on its developers to get the job done. And that's why Apple will have to choose carefully when it comes to pulling apps like GV Voice on the fly.

As for the rest of the gang---RIM, Nokia, Palm---Google is likely to be welcomed. You're likely to get tighter Google applications on these other platforms. After all, everyone is trying to bring down the iPhone. But the good stuff---the really whiz-bang Google creations---are likely to have the most pop on Android. Can Google out-Apple Apple?

Also see: Matthew Miller's smartphone blog

Topics: Android, Apple, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

    Now if only Eric Schmidt would resign from Google and drop out of the IT scene completely then the world would be a better place, and Google might start to become a half way decent company.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Not quite

      Even without Schmidt, Google likely would remain a great company.
  • RE: It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

    Well it shows how well Apple plays well with others... every over system is going open system excpet for apple.. competitors cant sell any apps that would interfere with apple's own..
  • And Windows Mobile Is Where?

    Cue the tumbleweeds....
    • Well

      it has already got alot of apps running on it, along with alot of software from alot of other people.
      So its in pretty much the same position it was before with more or less the same market share as it had before.
      But I suspect you were implying something else.
    • 30 million devices say your wrong

      and that is with all the neglect.
      • And they also say you can't spell.

        YOU + ARE = YOU'RE
  • RE: It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

    Tight integration between gmail and iPhone is important to me. Any significant diminution of that will cause me to have to rethink my phone choice. When combined with a more open platform, well, it makes one thoughtful.

    In my opinion the iPhone is still the best, most usable smartphone on the market by a wide margin. But that could change.
    • Have you used an Android phone?

      " iPhone is still the best, most usable smartphone on the market by a wide margin."

      What the heck other phones have you used? Android already has the best gmail/google contacts/google calendar integration available.

      It's also fast, stable, and open. Has widgets, notification slider, etc... it really kicks the crap out of the iPhone already.
      • Thinking About Moving To Google Android

        How is it for storage?
        • Watch Android closely late 09, early 2010

          Motorola is betting their wireless unit on it. If Verizon gives Android devices marketing heft---I have no reason to believe they wouldn't---then Google will be making a bigger impact in the months to come. I'm very curious about Android on a wide number of handsets.
          Larry Dignan
          • Depends on the phones

            The technology is there for Android to do well, it depends on whether or not carriers will be pushing the best of the best Android handsets.

            AT&T's first Android handset has worst specs than the G1... why?? No idea.

            T-Mobile UK has the HTC Hero (the best of the best Android phones right now)- yet T-Mobile US gets the HTC Magic (myTouch 3G), and already dated model.

            If the carriers start pushing the killer Android handsets, they'll do really well. If they keep carrying mediocre ones and passing up on the best, then we may not see a huge surge.
          • At who's peril? Nokia? Windows Mobile?

            I can't see Android taking away iPhone subscribers except for the
            geekiest ones that like to tinker and mess around with the
            configurations. That's how they get their jollies.

            BUT, I sure see support for Windows Mobile deteriorating because it's
            basically a complicated, ugly, crappy system unless it went through a
            huge transformation in the last few years.

            But Google has no reason to go after Apple, Apple is a great
            technology player, is more platform agnostic than Microsoft and does
            products their customers love.

            Microsoft does products only an enterprise techie and CIO can love. I
            know nobody who says they love Windows.

            So good-bye Windows Mobile.

            iPhone, RIM, Android and Symbian. That's the future.
          • I agree, Larry...

            ...given the recent Hero - the reaction to its UI being universally positive whilst doubts were expressed over the power of the hardware to support it - I think once HTC marry their Sense UI layered onto Android to a decent processor it's going to look increasingly bleak for Apple.

            And, of course, Samsung, Motorola and others are following suit. It also wouldn't surprise me if Nokia make a decison to pursue parallel paths with Symbian and Android too.

            You'd think that Jobs would have learned from the original Apple computers - build a market leading product then watch it get overtaken and marginalised by competitors because they were just too restrictive.

            History looks like repeating itself here.
            Sleeper Service
          • Yeah, right....

            that's why the iPhone share is growing many times faster than the competitors and is up at the record level 40% now?


            Btw, if history will repeat itself then Apple will dominate, completely, like with the revenue share of the $1000+ computers, i.e. Apple will become the #1 smartphone manufacturer.


            It's nice with wet dreams at night, huh? ;-)
          • really

            According to all the Mac can Apple compete in the PC arena when it's not a PC? So really...they should have 100% revenue share of the Mac competition since they are the only one in it.
        • Me too! :(

          I am an Apple fan but this is plain BS! MobileMe sucks in my opinion so I am also a Google fan! This puts me in a very precarious position. Looks like I may be investigating the myTouch 3G. The only reason that would change is if Verizon started carrying iPhones by the time my plan runs out. If not, I will likely be paying T-Mobile a visit!
        • As much as you want

          They use micro-sd card memory.

          You can purchase an 8gb card for under $15. Expand as far as you like. I don't use my phone as an mp3 player, so I can't even come close to filling up 8gb even with a ton of photos, applications, and some videos.
  • RE: It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

    Here's what I don't like about the G1.

    Don't want it to have a physical keyboard, hate the "chin", too thick, too heavy, interface while nice is clunky compared to the iPhone, no native Ever note app (I know not Android's fault).

    This is not a style over substance issue either. To be mobile, it needs to be comfortable to carry in a pocker (thin, light, no chin). It needs to work easily and have a great interface so you can get to what you need quickly while walking or having a conversation with someone. It has to be seamless to check your calendar if someone asks you if you can make a proposed meeting time and then easy to schedule the meeting.

    On the question side, are the Google mail and calendar apps real apps or web apps? Web apps stink, all of them without exception.

    Android could be an iPhone killer. The incoming model from Sony-Erricson looks pretty good. I'd sort of like it to be so.
    • G1 is old news

      Mytouch 3g, while not perfect is a huge improvement over the G1, and fixes alot of the things you mention not liking about the G1. I just received mine 5 days ago and I don't have any problems with it at all (of course assuming you would make the switch to T-Mobile).