Strong opinions, weakly held

Google and Apple, let’s do this

I’ve been following Google’s announcements from Google I/O with interest. Google announced version 2.2 of Android and a new set-top box, GoogleTV. The main takeaway from today’s events is that the competition between Apple and Google is heating up.

I think all of this is fantastic. Google and Apple both build great stuff, espouse completely different philosophies, and are scary in different ways. And they’re going to be fighting tooth and nail in a number of still unclaimed markets for every dollar of profit that’s available. There is no underdog here. Both operate from positions of strength and both have huge war chests they can bring to bear. Apple has $41.7 billion in cash. Google has $26.5 billion in cash. Microsoft wants to be a player in these markets as well, and they have $39.7 billion as well. So they have plenty of money to hire developers, build data centers, and buy up companies that look interesting. Nobody has market leverage of the kind Microsoft did in the desktop computing market during the browser wars of the nineties.

So right now we’re looking at a contest where the main weapons are quality of experience and openness. It’s going to be fun, and the competition is going to be incredibly beneficial to users.


  1. hi again.

    meego, comprised of intel and nokia atm, are funding UPnP as the way forwards. upnp makes the the media streaming features android introduced today seem like a comedic little toy. upnp allows for much more advanced media consumption cases, and frankly i cant imagine a tv, set top box, or future mobile platform that doesnt have upnp at its core.

    the one thing that excited me was Android Cloud to Device Messaging. the implementation looks like an alien invader from SG:U, its freakishly weird, and PubSubHubBub, Comet, AMQP, XMPP, just about anything on the planet would’ve fit the role better, but the principle is awesome. boxee introduced a queue feature recently that is a good examlpe of how the service would be used; while viewing a youtube you can queue the video on your remote device. i didnt see today’s keynote, but i understand something very similar was demo’d. Android Cloud to Device Messaging is a good name, it mixes the right technical elements, and hopefully will help get people thinking about their devices in the cloud.

    i’d close by citing similar excitement over a heating up battle at Tim O’Reilly’s buzz; http://www.google.com/buzz/timoreilly/ZshQQgPtsRT/Vic-Gundotra-opened-Google-I-O-with-a-compelling

    my own blog has been tracking the ubicomp & mainstream platform wars for the past eight years (((pardon, have yet to distill technical content into its own site))); http://thefowle.livejournal.com

  2. I agree it is exciting to watch and be apart of the movement and race to the “internet king of the hill”. I think the momentum of google is similar to the momentum and market leverage of microsoft in the 1990’s, with more experience and technology behind them. I’m curious to know which areas you feel are the main “unclaimed markets” we will see the most energy from all three companies?

  3. there are really two questions for people joining the “Google Alliance”:

    1) how secure will the phone, really the Google network, be considering the whole China hacking Gmail incident? and

    2) what level of privacy (hiding information) can you expect/are you really getting from a company whose primary business model is being a search engine (finding and giving out information) ?

    Not a complaint, but questions i’d really like to see answered.

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