Google is not interested in competing against Apple

While both want eyeballs, they are not competing for the same dollars

I read with great interest a blog post by Tim Bajarin the other day talking about the potential collision course between Apple, Microsoft and Google.  While I found the article interesting and insightful, I think most people are assuming that Google wants to get into more markets than Google may actually be interested in.  I want to suggest that perhaps some of Google's products and services are not designed to be direct profit centers, but instead exist to protect their core business, which we all know is search and Ads (or as I mentioned in another article, trust).  I believe Google has been and will continue to be focused on their primary mission, to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful.  Part of that universality requires openness and availability of technology, and making an open-source browser and operating system (ala Chrome) work incredibly well on laptop/tablet devices serves that mission.  So does Android on ultra-portable devices like phones and other embedded devices that should be connected to a cloud.  All of those devices provide less expensive access to the Internet and build brand loyalty in such a way that the users of those devices may be inclined to use Google services and hence bring more revenue to Google.I don't believe that the (some would argue overdue) departure of Eric Schmidt from Apple's board signifies any falling-out or even increased competition between Apple and Google.  Any reasonable company wants Board of Director members who can really participate in and contribute to strategy.  Between operating systems and phones, it became too complicated a position for Eric Schmidt regarding any potential or perceived conflict of interest.  This isn't a bad thing, and doesn't implicitly mean the relationships and respect between the companies has changed.  

I also don't believe the relationship between Google and Apple was based on the "my enemy's enemy is my friend" idea (if both perceive Microsoft as enemy).  It's because at the core of each company, there is an unwavering focus on the end-user experience.  That sentiment causes a mutual respect for each other that I would also argue has historically been absent from the Microsoft-ecosystem.  In fairness to Microsoft though, as many have pointed out, it is considerably harder to build and support an operating system when you don't control the hardware, and when everybody in the world is seemingly trying to take a swing at you.  

For us end-users, it's fantastic.  The amount of innovation that has been happening since the launch of the iPhone is stunning, and shows no sign of letting up.  Add 4G networks from the wireless carriers and we're talking about an amazing next decade of [finally] always-connected technology. And what might happen with the big guys?  Microsoft is in the toughest spot, fighting on all fronts:  search, phones, netbooks, laptops/desktop, office productivity apps, music players, home media centers and media royalties.  I only see a few areas where Apple and Google are (or will be competing):  Phones, netbooks (assuming an Apple tablet), and Office apps.  I don't see Google as trying to make money with either phones or netbooks, and I don't see Apple trying to make money with their office productivity apps (instead they use them to provide a complete Apple experience).  As long as Apple products continue to support Google as the default search engine (or search engine of choice), I don't really see anything in the immediate future that is going to pit Apple vs Google in any serious way.  

Let me know what you think :)

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