The relationship between Google and Apple which was jovial in 2006 has steadily declined of-late into an personal and legal battle between the companies and the founders of the company.
In 2006, Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt joined Apple’s board of directors. Google and Apple collaborated on the iPhone’s mapping services, and a year later, Schmidt joined Jobs on stage during the iPhone’s introduction at Macworld Expo. The two men were all smiles and compliments, and the venture looked bright.
But in the last six months, Apple and Google have jousted over acquisitions, patents,advisers and iPhone applications. Jobs and Schmidt have taken shots at each other’s companies in the media and in private exchanges with employees.
This month, Apple sued HTC, the Taiwanese maker of mobile phones that run Google’s Android operating system, contending that HTC had violated iPhone patents. The move was widely seen as the beginning of a legal assault by Apple on Google itself, as well as an attempt to slow Google’s plans to extend its dominion to mobile devices.
Apple believes that devices like smartphones and tablets should have tightly controlled, proprietary standards and that customers should take advantage of services on those gadgets with applications downloaded from Apple’s own App Store.
Google, on the other hand, wants smartphones to have open, non-proprietary platforms so users can freely roam the Web for applications that work on many devices. Google’s promotion of Android is, essentially, an effort to control its destiny in the mobile world. As it is believed now that soon smartphones would eclipse computers as the primary gateway to the Web.
The root cause of the dispute is a sense of betrayal, Jobs believes that Google violated the alliance between the companies by producing cellphones that resembled the iPhone.
This can be gouged by Mr. Jobs speech in an town-hall meeting, I will quote Jobs here “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business, Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.” . For more details you can read Mr. Steve Jobs speech
In 2006, Jobs and Schmidt had a single enemy and a single mission. The enemy was Microsoft and the mission was to limit Microsoft’s hegemony to the personal computer and ensuring that Microsoft didn’t dominate the frontier of online services and mobile devices. That was the reason which brought both the companies together.
This is in accordance with an saying in India, I will quote the Hindi version here “dushman ka dushman dost hota hai”, Which roughly translates to “enemy of our enemy is a friend”
Two years earlier, Google had acquired the start-up(Android Inc.) that was developing Android OS. At that time, the move was largely aimed at Microsoft and meant to ensure that it didn’t wind up controlling the market for mobile devices. Even after Microsoft faltered in the emerging smartphone market, and other companies like Research In Motion and then Apple began to dominate, Google continued to push ahead with Android and its vision of a more open mobile phone ecosystem.
As Google’s plans took shape, Apple started seeing red.
Highlighting the escalating rivalry, Verizon ran ads for the Droid that took aim at the iPhone with the tagline “Everything iDon’t … Droid Does.”
The strained relationship soured further, when Google tried to get its voice mail management program, Google Voice, onto the iPhone, Apple blocked the effort last July, citing privacy concerns . Then, last August, Mr. Schmidt stepped down from Apple’s board, prompted in part by regulatory concerns over ties between the two companies.
Last year, Apple made a formal bid to acquire AdMob, a rapidly growing mobile advertising company, for $600 million. AdMob specializes in developing ads that run inside mobile phone applications, like those on the iPhone.
Google’s interest was piqued by Apple’s pursuit of the start-up, Google stepped in and purchased the start-up for $750 million.
Apple responded by buying Quattro Wireless, a rival to AdMob, for close to $300 million in January — signaling that Apple and Google would now fight it out for pre-eminence in the ad market for mobile devices.
Apple’s announcement of buying of Quattro Wireless was overshadowed by much bigger news. The same day, Google introduced the Nexus One, its flagship phone designed in close collaboration with HTC, which carried some design flourishes associated with the iPhone. And topped it off a month later with an software update for Nexus One, adding multitouch feature.
The confrontations over Google Voice application, might have made Google realize that a rival could keep millions of people from accessing its services.
Apple and Google remain partners in certain areas. Google pays Apple millions of dollars annually to make its search engine the default on Apple’s Web browser, on the iPhone. Like it pays Mozilla to keep Google as default search engine on Firefox.
There are speculations around that Apple might give a thumbs down to Google by setting bing as a default search engine on iPhone and iPad. This would not be big blow to Google financially, because many iPhone and iPad users will definitely visit Google’s search service from their device’s Web browser.
Hegemony of one company in a domain is not good. This entire affair isn’t bad for the customers and the domains involved since competition between companies would help in improving the product quality and might even lead to reduce the prices. It’s very likely that Microsoft(bing) might take advantage of this spat. One thing is for sure this spat is going to get uglier as it continues.