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.