Google vs. Apple: A Modern Day, Wild West Showdown


There is no doubt about it.  There no longer is any love lost between Apple and Google.  When the iPhone 3G was released, the Google Android OS was nothing more than an announcement still months away from release.  As Apple’s market continued to grow and in some ways overtake the Blackberry market, so grew Google’s appetite for becoming a player in the mobile market.  Look at the chart below.  Apple has been at this way longer.  In fact, one would think that they would have nothing to worry about but that may not be the case.  As of today, Google has over 20,000 apps in its app store and 20 different phones on the market using its operating system.  Even if Apple opens up its network to someone other than AT&T, which seems unlikely at this time, can they really compete against a market that is absolutely saturated with Google Android products?

google android vs apple timeline

I’ve linked to it before but it’s worth mentioning again.  Right after the announcement of the iPad, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, had a private employee only meeting.  In that meeting he reportedly told the crowd his thoughts on Google.  He said, “We did not enter the search business.  They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”  Sounds to me like Jobs is taking this threat seriously, and he should.  Few companies are bigger than Google.  Although the size of a company has never stopped Jobs from taking them on.  Microsoft comes to mind.

In this case though, he will be directly competing with Google.  A company that provides the iPhone with quite a bit of cool functionality.  I’m thinking of the built-in Maps application, Google Search, Google Earth, etc.  Microsoft never tried to compete with Apple when it came to the hardware side of the business.  No, this competition is of a different kind.  I think Apple needs to be careful here.  At some point, they need Google more than Google needs them.

Maybe the first real battle cry was when Google Voice was rejected from the App Store without a second thought.  After the FCC intervened, Apple said it was AT&T who dismissed the app.  Then AT&T said they had nothing to do with the app verification process.  Then Apple decided that they actually they hadn’t dismissed the app entirely, they were just waiting to try and figure out what to do with it.  That deliberation started months ago and still is being held up for whatever reason.  Instead of waiting around, Google circumvented the issue by making Google Voice available via the browser.  That’s the nice thing about being the largest website in the world.  You can do things like that and no one can do anything about it.

Literally just days after the App Store rejection of Google Voice (August 3rd), Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, resigned from the board of Apple.  A position he held for 3 years.  These companies were tied together so closely that Google’s CEO held a position on Apple’s board!  Obviously when it became clear that Google was entering the mobile market, Apple’s Market, it was time for him to go.

Those things all lead up to the day Google announced its own phone on January 5th.  Up until then, they had simply created a platform that could be used by phone manufacturers.  The day they started selling their own phone, there was no doubt left.  Google wanted to kill the iPhone; at least according to Jobs.  He says they won’t let them do it but when they are facing down a company that is literally synonymous with the internet, do they really have a chance?  Time will tell.

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Cody likes sports, games and sports games. He has also been known to read about sports, games and sports games.


  1. Rick Tenney

    March 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    This is a very interesting discussion. In 1999
    japans phone company DoCoMo had most of the cellphone market with there own apps. It was a walled garden just like apple with paid apps and a huge revenue stream. They tried to license it worldwide and failed. They failed for many reasons but in my opinion the walled garden is a loser. The Google open model will win in the long run and apple will once again lose to Google like it did to Microsoft. If Apple opened up to all ala Android they’d have a chance but they want content and product control and that is guaranteed failure.

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  2. Synthmeister

    February 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Google doesn’t want to “kill” the iPhone but it wants to make sure it doesn’t become so dominant that Apple could switch search engines and suddenly deprive Google of a huge revenue stream or that more and more apps connect users directly to their websites without any help from Google. Apple can easily switch search engines and map engines. Google can’t easily find 50 million new users and by this time next year, Apple will probably have 100 million mobile users.

    Google hasn’t really proved itself beyond it’s core competency. Android is showing some promise but already there are six different Android OSes being offered simultaneously, all sizes and shapes of hardware, RAM, screens, and they have zero experience in mobile hardware/software/UI design and integration. And now they have a second OS, Chrome? Do they realize how hard it is to keep a modern OS up to speed especially when they allow so much variation in the hardware?

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  3. Rick

    February 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    A little competition is a good thing- it will keep prices down and force both companies to keep innovating to stay in the market.

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  4. Googler

    February 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I disagree with the part that said “Google wanted to kill the iPhone”. I don’t think they’re trying to kill the iPhone, they just expanded into the mobile market and are trying to make the best product they can. If the iPhone isn’t good enough to stay alive it deserves to die if that means it will be replaced or re-born as a better product so be it. Also it appears to me that Apple/AT&T is the only one taking this as a personal attack AKA acting childish about a little competition, we didn’t see this type of behavior from google when microsoft released bing to compete.

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