Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

Summary: Combine an open source process with Chinese manufacturing, and Apple's best features can be copied, distributed, made and sold almost before Apple itself can get them out the door.

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If I were Steve Jobs I would hate Google too.

It took years for the industry to come up with anything even close to the iPhone, and Apple raked in the profits from that. One-on-one, its designers and marketing people can beat anyone.

But Google and open source have changed the game. Combine an open source process with Chinese manufacturing, and Apple's best features can be copied, distributed, made and sold almost before Apple itself can get them out the door.

It doesn't matter if Apple patents the iPad software. Programmers can always find other ways to simulate functionality. There is more than one way to pinch a screen.

So Chrome, which last year was seen as a Netbook replacement, the long-awaited desktop Linux that works, is suddenly seen as an iPad replacement, at least a valid competitor.

Chinese manufacturers are showing screens ripped from laptops called iPad competitors. Within a week speculation has moved from how Apple will extend its lead to how Google will match it.

Throughout the last decade Apple had a secret sauce. It knew the customer. It did the design work, the marketing work, the channel prep, the hype. It made the deals with the guaranteed profits. Then it shipped the designs off to China and they came back profitable. It was good.

Well, game over. Google doesn't market as well as Apple. It doesn't design as well. It doesn't even take the risks of manufacturing and putting its brand name out there -- the Nexus One is an HTC product.

Yet still Google is eating Apple's cheese, first with the media and soon with the channel.

Jobs is boxed in. He can't wave an American flag over the iChrome because he's using Chinese manufacturers, too. He can't make a patent case, because the market will be gone before a case can come to trial. And he can't guarantee his partners fat profits, because mass cloning of features means there are no fat profits to be had.

The beneficiaries of all this are the same people who were being squeezed by Apple's dominance of the iPhone. Chinese manufacturers on the one side, American consumers on the other. Both now have alternatives.

And this is what open source does. It squeezes out monopoly profits of all kinds, including those resulting from innovation. It's evolution in action. And even Apple's business process is no longer enough to hold it off.

Yeah, if I were Steve Jobs, I would certainly call that evil.

Topics: Apple, Google, Open Source

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106 comments
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  • "he can?t guarantee his partners fat profits"

    Spot on. That is *the* Achilles heel of the
    iPad.

    This time around the content providers did not
    get lured by "exclusivity" deals - where only
    Apple would be allowed to distribute content.

    The publishers have taken a lesson from the
    music industry and view Apple with some
    suspicion. They know that what they have can
    (and should) be sold through more than one
    channel.
    honeymonster
    • What are you talking about?

      Apple hasn't needed to be a part of any content distribution
      exclusivity agreements. Their dominance was only based on the
      phenomenal iTunes/iPod penetration by their own merits.

      Even iPhone apps are distributed non exclusively; developers may port
      their applications to other platforms freely.

      Yet when they gained a sizable share of the music distribution
      business, the labels tried to back down from their non-exclusive
      agreements and tried to exert more control over pricing. When Apple
      refused, they made exclusive deals with Apple's [b]competitors[/b]
      allowing only them to distribute DRM free.

      But that impressed no one and Apple went to pass the other big
      names as the top music distributor, while at a disadvantage.

      Since book publishers appear to be less arrogant, I expect Apple to
      have it easier this time, and keep succeeding without the help of any
      exclusivity agreements.
      jz1492
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        It?s looking like Apple iOS 5 may ditch Google Maps in favor of an in-house mapping solution, if an oddity in the mobile operating system?s legal disclaimers uncovered by Macrumors is any indication.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Reading the fine print in queston, it appears that there?s a new section called ?Map Data,? which lists
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        licenses from mapping companies CoreLogic, Getchee, Increment P Corp, Localeze, MapData
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Sciences Pty Ltd., DMTI, TomTom, Urban Mapping, and Waze. Between all of those services
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Apple has enough map and local business data to make a decent showing of matching Google Maps
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        feature-for-feature on the iPhone and iPad.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        The hypothetical new Apple map app (say that ten times fast) may even go a step beyond
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Urban Mapping provides information like demographics and crime statistics on map overlays, and Waze uses crowd-sourced data for traffic data.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Until any form of official announcement is made, this belongs purely in the realm of speculation.
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        But it wouldn?t come as a complete surprise, with Apple?s acquisition of Poly9 last year forcing us to ask
        Linux Love
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

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      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        Of course, as Macrumors notes, this could just be preemptive: Google has recently renewed its agreement with Apple, so iOS 5 may well ship with Google Maps. But were highly doubtful that this is where this story ends, and Im very curious to see what happens when Apple and Google are no longer on such good<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="light&height"> ipad bag blog</font></a> of best <a href="http://www.sutudeg.org/"><font color="light&height">sutudeg community</font></a> the modern <a href="http://wposfv.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">education news</font></a> and country and terms.
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    • I love how lies are born every minute.

      This post is a perfect example.
      Bruizer
    • What "exclusivity" are you talking about?

      There has never been a exclusive deal with the music industry and
      Apple.
      CowLauncher
      • RE: Google narrowing Apple proprietary gap

        And he cant guarantee his partners fat profits, because mass cloning of features means there are no fat profits to be had.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
        zakkiromi
  • This has nothing to do with open source

    Another company which did the same thing to Apple
    about...oh....thirty years ago. That company was named
    "Compaq", but it used a closed-source operating system
    named "MS-DOS" to drive the guaranteed profits out of the
    hardware chain by commoditizing it.

    Open source has nothing to do with this; commoditization and
    standardization have everything to do with it.
    probabilist
    • Open

      For its time, Compaq and MS-DOS were "open" and that was the key. This impacted not just Apple but IBM as well, which for a time tried to monopolize MS-DOS technology.

      But now I'm dating myself. And I'm afraid I may be dating you. (Not that there's anything wrong with that but we hardly know each other, and our parents haven't formally introduced us...)
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • I'm making a slightly different point

        I completely agree that IBM was doomed to lose
        to Compaq once the hardware once reverse
        engineered. That part is true. The hardware
        wasn't open, though -- IBM's engineers weren't
        that stupid. They had a trick up their sleeve:
        IBM owned the BIOS. It was only when Compaq's
        competing *proprietary* BIOS implementations hit
        the streets that PC equivalent hardware prices
        started to fall -- not due to openness, but due
        to commoditization.
        probabilist