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Apple vs. Google: The Battle Royale

stevericApple hates Google. Who would have thunk it! The one-time bosom-buddies, who even joked about merging the companies and naming it AppleGoo, have now turned not merely rivals, but enemies engaged in a fierce battle for supremacy. If you are about to compare this to the battle of wills and copyrights that Apple and Microsoft engaged in for years, you’d better stop, because you’d be way off the mark. Apple, it seems, is waging a very personal war on Google.

Apple (read, Steve Jobs) believe that Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who served on their board of directors for a number of years, has not merely betrayed their trust by venturing into the mobile technology business arena, but that he may even have drawn ‘inspiration’ for their future products from the many iPhone discussions he was part of. (Surely, Steve couldn’t be accusing the Google CEO of corporate espionage? Or could he?)

The growing rift between Apple and Google was first suspected in August of 2009, when they mutually decided that Eric Schmidt would give up his position in Apple’s board of directors, because his continued presence on the board would undoubtedly lead to conflicts of interest as Google was encroaching on more of Apple’s core business areas with Android technology and Chrome OS. (Not to put thoughts in anyone’s head, but does Google’s advancements in these core areas coincide with Schmidt’s stay at Apple?)

Things went steadily downhill after that.

The rift (only) grew wider when in November 2009 Google acquired AdMob, a leading mobile advertising platform that Apple had its eye on. Google apparently paid a premium of 25% just to keep Apple from going after it. Jeeze, Google, competitive, much?

The web, the world even, got a fair picture of just how strained the relationship between the two giants was in January 2010, when at an internal Apple town hall meeting, Steve gave vent to his growing frustration and displeasure with Google, going as far as to say that Google’s motto, ‘Don’t Be Evil’, was nothing but ‘a load of crap’. (That’s harsh, Steve! But I agree it is a touch too sanctimonious for a corporate motto.)

iphone-nexusBut things really came to head in February, exactly one month after the Google Nexus One was released, when Apple filed a lawsuit for 20 patent violations against Nexus One maker HTC. If I claim that this was an indirect hit at Google, a deliberate plan to stall further developments in the Android space, very few who will disagree with me. That won’t make it true though, because Apple’s motives still aren’t clear, and my claim, in spite of its popularity, will have to be seen as informed speculation.

Industry experts say this rivalry may not necessarily be a bad thing, that in their efforts to best the other, they can drive more innovations. Don’t blame me for being excited, but that means there will be just one clear winner to emerge from this battle – we, the consumers!

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March 23rd, 2010 by bhavya
Posted in General, Social News

One Response to “Apple vs. Google: The Battle Royale”

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