Apple v Google

Apple vs Google collage of their products and people
INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Winter 2010

It may be hard to believe today, but both Apple and Google were once the little guy: Apple was David aiming his catapult at Microsoft, and Google was the second-mover hoping to topple the might of Yahoo! Both were so good that they became huge, which led them to clash swords as they moved into new products and fields. Today Apple and Google compete with their browsers (Safari and Chrome), photographic software (iPhoto and Picasa), e-mail (me.com v Gmail) and cloud computing (MobileMe v iGoogle).

Apple’s iTunes is now the world’s biggest music store; Google is replying with Google Music. Apple, after being sniffy a couple of years ago, is selling e-books through iTunes; Google is quietly digitising every book it can get its hands on for Google Books. Google owns YouTube, the world’s biggest streamer of video, but Apple too (with iTunes, the iPad, iPod and Apple TV) has begun to see delivering moving pictures as a core skill. In April, Apple in turn went straight for Google’s financial core, launching iAd, a mobile-advertising platform.

But the 2 behemoths, long operating in their own space, have a single warring obsession these days: control of the phone in our pockets.

By the end of 2011 smartphones will outsell ordinary phones, and by 2012 they will outsell PCs. Cloud computing may well replace the system whereby our photos, songs, documents and everything else lived on our own personal devices. At the same time, some observers expect search-based revenues to peak soon. One of those observers is Jobs, who says flatly that “on a mobile device, search hasn’t happened. Search is not where it’s at.” This leaves smartphone apps as the crucial gateway to the cloud —and Apple and Google chasing each other’s revenues by filling every corner of our lives with their working, browsing, listening, viewing and networking options.

Read the full analysis at Intelligent Life …