Daniel Eran Dilger
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TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld insists Google wrote the iPhone

Daniel Eran Dilger

Wrting for TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld channeled Glenn Beck to blend righteous outrage, over-the-top moralism, and boldly presented misinformation to insist that Google wrote Apple’s iPhone apps and that it “should” now force Apple to beg to use Google’s open APIs. He’s wrong, here’s why.
Schonfeld isn’t exactly going rogue here; TechCrunch has clearly staked out a new fanatical opposition to anything Apple-related and an unwavering fundamentalism that outstretches welcoming arms of credulity for anything Google-related.

For TechCrunch bloggers, the iPhone isn’t merely a very popular product that purposely fails to address every conceivable desire a user might express. No, it’s an abomination that must be vilified daily by fervent appeals to instead adopt Google’s fledgeling, security-free, business model impaired, fractionalized platform of non-Apple hope.

Google Should Make Apple Beg For Maps Navigation (TechCrunch)
The TechCrunch ‘Apple Backlash’ Myth

Good vs Evil: a play for simple people

In the minds of TechCrunch preachers, Apple and Google aren’t close partners who work together with symbiotic efficiency in the areas of web search, YouTube video publishing, email and contact services, WebKit, HTML5, and a variety of other open source projects. No, Apple and Google are now cutthroat enemies, as evidenced by both having some minimal overlap in portions of their mobile platform offerings.

Never mind that Apple works productively with Microsoft, or IBM, or the RIAA, or AT&T, or any number of other companies that it has also had competitive and even fiercely antagonistic relationships with in the past or even the present. That kind of realistic relationship complexity is painted in shades of grey, and doesn’t translate into black hat/white hat moralism where everything is for us or against us.

In the simplistic, hyper-dramatic world of the wildly arrogant bloggers of TechCrunch, Apple is all evil and Google can actually do no wrong, let alone evil. So when Google showed off its slick new Google Maps Navigation app, and premiered it on Android 2.0 running on the new Verizon Droid built by Motorola, TechCrunch decided that “Google is putting Apple on notice that it is no longer reserving its best apps for the iPhone.”

This all happened before

Perhaps TechCrunch is so full of itself that it fails to remember that the last time Google wanted to show off a cool new feature, it also did so on for Android first, for reasons that are too obvious to require any explanation.

If you’ve forgotten, it was the Android compass on the T-Mobile G1, which Google integrated with Maps to allow the user to pan around in Street Views by simply holding the phone in different directions. That was a year ago. In the meantime, Apple launched its own phone with a compass, and subsequently, most people who actually use Google Maps with the compass orientation features are iPhone users.

That’s because the G1 failed to sell in any meaningful quantity; outside of Compass Mode, it had a lot of serious drawbacks. So now Google is associating its new Maps Navigation feature with Android 2.0, which may not even run on the G1 because that model doesn’t have enough RAM to load future updates.

Google doesn’t care about people who bought the first generation of Android phones because it didn’t sell the G1, and doesn’t make any money on upgrades. Like Microsoft, Google only cares about attracting attention to its latest version of Android because that’s what its selling to its real customers, who aren’t consumers but rather the phone makers (like Motorola) and mobile providers (like Verizon). Just like Windows Mobile always has.

Why Apple loves you (money)

It’s not like Apple has some special version of corporate altruism that out-righteousnesses Google, it’s just that Apple directly sells its hardware to individuals. Apple has to impress and delight consumers in order to get their money.

Apple’s relationship with its hardware suppliers and AT&T is just tough business. Apple flashed big bills at AT&T and forced the company to change from being the kind of outfit that charged $50 a month for worthless data services that nobody actually used into one where they now get more money from more subscribers thanks to the iPhone, but actually have to work for it now.

Verizon wants that same kind of money, but doesn’t want to have to work for it. Verizon also doesn’t want to give up its predatory ringtones and lame rental game applet business. In corporate circles, Apple knocks heads together and leaves with deals that are pro-consumer, not because the company loves us, but because it knows that if it gives us what we want, we’ll come back regularly. Perhaps that is love, just not the romanticized version.

New depths of delusion at TechCrunch

TechCrunch apparently hasn’t heard of any of this, apparently being too delusionally consumed by the fabulousness of its own obese shadow. How else could these writers happen upon the theory that Google’s free (i.e. “ad supported”) Maps Navigation venture leaves the iPhone at a disadvantage because, ostensibly, “paid navigation apps in the iTunes store can’t compete.”

Well actually they can compete, because there are occasions where (perish the thought) AT&T’s network isn’t available or reliable. In those cases, you’ll want your GPS maps contained within the App, just like a real GPS device. Google’s navigation maps, just like those in the iPhone’s Maps app, have to stream in as needed, so if you don’t have a viable network connections (like, say, on the iPod touch), you’re out of luck.

That said, I’m certainly looking forward for the option of being able to get turn by turn navigation that works as well as Google’s other Maps features, all of which trickle into the iPhone Maps app as quickly as Apple can implement them. Yes, that’s right, Google’s free new Map features are free because the company wants them widely implemented because it makes its money on ads, not selling client software.

Google fans fail to contemplate why Android is free

Google and iPhone Apps

The iPhone should be able to implement Google’s Maps Navigation features even faster than it inhaled Android 1.0’s compass features, given that new hardware isn’t even required. Which reminds me: TechCrunch also rather outrageously claims that Google wrote all of the iPhone apps. It did not.

This idea was first floated by Michael “People Ready” Arrington himself in his Google Voice coverage, where he wrote, “Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.”

Oh no! Apple has just realized that it uses services provided by Google! How could the company have not figured this out before? Imagine the kind of groveling Apple would have to do to pick up Yahoo or Microsoft Bing or some other vendor as its primary provider of search and maps. The company would probably have to accept millions in dowery just to wed another partner to what is now the hottest mobile client on the planet, even without including the iPod touch. Oh the humanity! Apple already has too many billions in the bank. This might cause its revenues too expand too mightily.

Arringtons’ grandly moralizing “ought” speech on Apple and Google Voice was then amplified by Schonfeld, who then wrote “Google supposedly didn’t need to creat [sic] its own phone, because it could simply create software for the iPhone. And, in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.”

Well never mind that Search isn’t the name of an iPhone app; none of these apps were developed by Google at all. Schonfeld might as well claim that every web browser capable of visiting Google.com was, supposedly, “developed by Google.”

A person who was entirely clueless about the industry might be forgiven for thinking that Maps and YouTube were “Google Apps” in a general sense, because they serve as clients for what are obviously Google services. But to present the idea that Apple delegated development of its iPhone client apps to Google all the way to Mail is just too stupid for anyone to suggest, particularly a bunch of arrogant bloggers who act like they are are arbiters of righteousness in the realm of technology.

Stick with your knitting

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone, Google was dazzled by the cool apps Apple had built for presenting its Maps API data. Compare the versions of Google Maps that the company has released for other phone platforms (particularly before it began copying Apple’s Maps client after the release of the iPhone) and this is painfully obvious.

Google sets up services that anyone can use. Google does the heavy lifting on the server side: video serving, gmail message services, maps, relevant search results, document editing and serving, and so on. Goole isn’t exactly phenomenal at building client apps.

This part is an expression of my opinion, but Picassa on the Mac is pretty universally regarded as having a terrible user interface. I enjoy being able to use Gmail, but I think its web interface is quirky and counterintuitive. I have tried to use Google Docs and other services, and find them similarly clumsy. What they do is great; how they actually work isn’t. In a perfect world, Google would run my backend services and Apple would build the way the client looked. Which is why I like the iPhone.

Look at Android phones: they look like they were designed by whoever laid out the Amiga desktop. Oh sorry, workbench. The same people who designed decades of Linux desktops that the mainstream never adopted. Google has the functionality side down, but its client user interaction layer is usually just weak. That’s what makes the Google/Apple tag team so great.

Pay better attention to history, TechCrunchers

The point Schonfeld was trying to make is that Apple shouldn’t stand in Google’s way. This is all about the site’s official, myopic opinion that Apple should approve Google Voice, and that Apple’s decision not to is entirely ignorant and perhaps evil, rather than being a mixture of paranoia, obvious competitive concerns, and the product of what is still an opaque strategy.

Unfortunately, Schonfeld builds his logical house of cards upon a series of inane premises and a faulty recollection of the past. Citing Arringtons quote above, Schonfeld claims that the whole Google Voice rejection was because Apple wanted “to back away from letting Google take over the iPhone with all the best apps” and would accomplish this goal “by rejecting them.”

Got that? Apple fears that Google will take over the iPhone because it wrote all the apps (that it didn’t), and because Google is irreplaceable as a service provider (even though it isn’t), creating an issue that is a horrific problem for Apple (even though it isn’t), and one that Google will exploit to cause damage for Apple without really gaining anything itself (which, of course, it won’t.)

Schonfeld says Google’s preview of Maps Navigation on Android 2.0 is “a big middle finger” to the iPhone and a sign that “Google will stop giving Apple its best apps first” (despite that whole G1 compass harbinger). How can TechCrunch top this in sheer foolishness? Oh, you might be surprised.

“Apple is in a terrible position here because the future of mobile apps are Web apps, and Google excels at making those,” Schonfeld claims. Apparently he missed the memos on a) developers’ reaction to Apple’s web SDK, b) widespread apathy for the Palm Pre’s incredibly slow WebOS web applets, and c) TechCrunch’s own position that a web app version of Google Latitude for the iPhone is unacceptable.

Come on, express an opinion that doesn’t change in every story. Web apps will certainly serve a big purpose going forward, but Apple has already dominated the business of native mobile apps in a way that Android has yet to prove any competency in.

“Apple needs Google, it’s [sic] most dangerous competitor in the mobile Web market, to keep building apps for the iPhone,” Schonfeld then adds, before noting that “Google would be foolish not to since the iPhone still has the largest reach of any modern Web phone.” So can we agree that there’s no issue then?

“The sad thing is that Apple has been here before—with Microsoft,” Schonfeld insists, finally reaching his false history lesson. “In the late 1990s, Apple had to beg Microsoft to keep building Office for Macs. Now it may be in the same position with Google.”

Except that the reason Apple had to beg Microsoft to build Office for Macs was because the Mac platform had imploded between 1990 and 1997, being greatly overshadowed by Microsoft’s own Windows. There was apparently little commercial viability in building Mac apps at that point, and Microsoft had competitive reasons not to.

Also, Apple didn’t beg; Steve Jobs forced Bill Gates to deliver Office for Mac under threat of exposing the whole Canyon/QuickTime code theft and a variety of other patent violations. Gates responded by allowing Roz Ho to deliver multiple editions of Office for Mac that were all terrible, and Jobs pretended to be proud that Office ran on his Macs. It was all theater.

Further, the main reason the Mac platform was in decline was because Apple had allowed its closest third-party software developer to take its own Mac technologies and build its own alternative. Apple had no patent protections in place, had no restrictions and enforced no minimum standards on third party apps, and was completely out of the loop in earning any profits from software developers’ use of its platform. That left Apple entirely without any control over the destiny of its own platform.

Office Wars 3 – How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly
How Apple Is Changing the PC Software World… Back
Microsoft’s Plot to Kill QuickTime

Apple’s new platform strategy

Rather than Apple being in the same position again, it has taken steps to ensure that third parties support the platform they earn their money on with the iPhone. They are free to port their apps to WiMo or Android or Symbian, but Apple makes it difficult to take away its own key technologies.

It does this by leveraging patented platform features; insisting that App Store titles are created using Apple’s tools and not just lowest common denominator Java/Flash/.Net/Mono tools that do nothing to differentiate apps on the iPhone; taking a revenue share that gives Apple a slice of the tremendous value it created in building the App Store (following the lead of Nintendo in gaming), and exerting control over how third party apps work on its platform.

If you want to find an analog of the old Apple, look no further from the young new Google, which has not benefited from the scars of experience in having its own platform wrestled away by Microsoft in the early 90s. Google is doing everything Apple got wrong the first time: allowing anything on Android, having no security mechanisms, not getting any support from third party developers, and porting its own value to other platforms in exchange for nothing.

Android is also making all the same mistakes as Microsoft made: no quality standards, no thought given to security, and a readiness to kill off any competitors that encroach upon its own plans.

Can you imagine TomTom and Garmin investing any significant efforts to bring real GPS apps to Android with the platform now starting out with a free alternative? The media is already presenting Google’s Maps Navigation as a standalone GPS killer, just as they were quick to anoint Office 95 as the killer of Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect. If TechCrunch is worried about centralized control and a technological monoculture in mobile devices, this is an odd way to celebrate it.

If there really is a good versus evil war between Google and Apple, Google’s next step will be to deliver an app and/or service that Apple can’t simply adopt in its next revision of the iPhone OS. It hasn’t done that yet. Instead, we have the same thing we’ve always had: Google benefitting from Apple’s iPhone success as its primary search partner, and the anti-iPhone world all bothered about trying to find an iPhone killer.


1 Jon T { 10.30.09 at 3:28 am }

One of your best articles – ever. Thank you. It makes the ignorance of some so-called tech writers utterly shameful.

And Techcrunch will no doubt have an Apple conquering answer to the 256mb issue of the Android too: http://androidandme.com/2009/10/news/google-fails-to-address-app-storage-issue-with-droid-and-android-2-0/

2 Khürt Williams { 10.30.09 at 3:58 am }

TechCrunch writers/analyst are anything but. There is a gross lack of deep thinking and I read everything there with a grain of salt.

This was a lenghty read but well worth my time. Keep it yp.

3 uberVU - social comments { 10.30.09 at 4:27 am }

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by DanielEran: New: TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld insists Google wrote the iPhone – http://tinyurl.com/ykmzzps

4 snookie { 10.30.09 at 6:57 am }

Arrington is a joke.

The elephant in the room is their development of the Google based crunchpad. They are using their blog as a forum to promote google without disclosing their financial interest in doing so.

its an open question of the bloggers are really so ignorant but their readers certainly are given the comments.

Most pathetic is that they delete comments they don’t like.

5 tundraboy { 10.30.09 at 7:08 am }

Techcrunch is great at ferreting out industry gossip. But as to meaningful and insightful understanding of the business and the technology, they contribute nothing but distracting, misleading noise. They’re kinda like the Perez Hilton of tech. With the same outsized opinion of the value of their opinions.

And to keep on commenting on the industry the same time they’re developing their own competing tech device. That’s just total cluelessness on ethics.

6 dallasmay { 10.30.09 at 7:23 am }

I don’t understand all of the Android hate lately. Android is really pretty solid. Sure 1.0 lacked some features, but so did iPhone 1.0. And iPhone 1.0 certainly did not exactly court developers, and they were not at all thrilled with being limited to web apps as you suggest. Sure, we all know what Apple’s game plan was now, they didn’t allow apps for the first Million iPhones sold, so that when they did allow native apps developers would have at least a million iphones to sell their apps to. It worked out well for Apple.

Google took a different approach, and it hasn’t really hurt them. Android has over 10,000 apps as well. That’s certainly not bad for any platform. Like I said before, while version 1.0 wasn’t that great, the system really has been refined very well. I would almost go so far as to posit that you haven’t seen an Android phone in a while.

Further, many of Google’s other services also don’t deserve your critique. While you might not like GMail, the service has done very well competing against Yahoo and Hotmail -despite those services being released a decade before. I personally love Google Docs and find it irreplaceable as I use a half dozen different computers during a day. It’s great to have all of my files up to date on whatever system I happen to be on at the time. And YouTube serves like a Billion Videos a day now? Google is very popular, because they make good stuff.

Google is not MS, who simply photo copies and uses their ill-gotten monopoly to subsidize their other projects. They are also not Apple, either in the 90’s or the 00’s. Unlike Apple in the 90’s,Google has good leadership, and unlike Apple in the 00’s Google can manage more than three projects at a time. I believe your current stance against Google is pretty unfounded.

[Your comment reads like a defensive form letter. There’s no “hate” foe Android, just a reality check for people making wildly inaccurate claims and voicing unbridaled optimism that’s largely unsupported. Also, you completely missed what I said about Google’s web UIs. And popularity means nothing about how great these free sites look. – Dan ]

7 Josh { 10.30.09 at 7:44 am }

I want Android to succeed, but I can’t wait to see the look on the TechCrunch’s douchebaggy face when Android phones start randomly displaying ads of silhouetted people dancing on rooftops claiming that they were able to refinance their home for a steal! A steal, I say!

8 Berend Schotanus { 10.30.09 at 7:45 am }

“That kind of realistic relationship complexity is painted in shades of grey”

wonderful formulation :-)

“Apple makes it difficult to take away its own key technologies”

One of the things I like about Apple is they appear to be truly adapting the “innovator” business strategy. It is not like they catch a proprietary technology upon they which to make profit until eternity (like Microsoft would). It is like the world is in motion and Apple wants to be moving faster. The whole setting of the iPhone in the smartphone market is such that other parties are encouraged to improve their products as well.

9 limey { 10.30.09 at 8:53 am }

Jon T, thanks for the link (#1 above)
Money quote for me, from comments:
“Yes, I am a little bit bitter that my Droid is going to have half the memory of my ten year old Palm Pilot.”

A lot of people there blaming Google for not allowing installation of apps outside of the 512mb ROM, but I think Motorola screwed up. I don’t see the point of a removable 16gb SD card, which incidentally can only be removed by taking out the battery first. But really, 512mb ROM? Stupid.

Dan, another fine article.


10 donarb { 10.30.09 at 8:57 am }

The Pre has a similar problem in terms of app storage. The 8 GB of storage is partitioned into 3 parts, the os partition, a 256 MB apps partition, and the rest for data.


11 dallasmay { 10.30.09 at 9:32 am }

Thank you for your response. Google is an advertising company, but they have no history of being intrusive or annoying about it. Rather, I would argue that contrary to most advertising funded media, Google works to make their advertising unintrusive, and even helpful. I have seen no such intrusive Ads displayed on popular services such as Google Docs, or Reader, Maps. Nor do I expect to, because that is not Google’s advertising strategy. Their advertising strategy follows more from the Yellow Pages than from Television. On TV, ads have to scream out for your attention and are often very annoying. The yellow pages, however, sold ads that assisted people. If you were searching for a plumber, you would go to the yellow pages and see ads from local plumbers that offered useful information when you wanted it. Google follows this type of advertising. There is no evidence that Google will suddenly drop that and start “working very hard to set up a Minority Report style dystopia.” Hyperbole much?

You say that you are offering “a reality check for people making wildly inaccurate claims and voicing unbridaled optimism”, but that is not where you stop. You call the people “Freetards” and “Cheapskates” as if the average consumer has any idea at all what the OS cost their phone manufacturer. I will also remind you how you belittled those that pushed against DRM back in the day -only to then take their side as soon as SJ wrote his “Thoughts on Music” letter.

I will admit to being a cheerleader for Google. As I am a cheerleader for Apple as well. As I am with BB, Palm, and Nokia. I really like the way technology is going. The competition has brought about more Consumer Electronics innovation in the last 3 years than we have seen in the previous decade. And it’s not slowing down for sure.

My issue with your recent writings is that you seem to have taken a Rush Limbaugh style “I want them to Fail” stance. It doesn’t suit you. The fact is, the more phones and the more phone OS’s there are on the market, the better. This is how capitalism works right. Capitalism doesn’t work when one company owns a lions share of the market and can dictate (by sheer momentum) at what rate technology increases.

12 beanie { 10.30.09 at 10:49 am }

Daniel Eran Dilger wrote:
“But to present the idea that Apple delegated development of its iPhone client apps”

Google Maps mobile client page says it comes pre-installed on iPhone. Also, I read that Google Maps on the iPhone this month started displaying unobtrusive sponsored ads. So if Apple wrote the Maps client, would they display ads? Probably not. So Google and Apple probably worked together on the Maps client.

Anyway, I came across a news item that Apple bought a mapping company called PlaceBase in July 2009.

13 ChuckO { 10.30.09 at 11:13 am }

“My issue with your recent writings is that you seem to have taken a Rush Limbaugh style “I want them to Fail” stance. It doesn’t suit you. The fact is, the more phones and the more phone OS’s there are on the market, the better. This is how capitalism works right. Capitalism doesn’t work when one company owns a lions share of the market and can dictate (by sheer momentum) at what rate technology increases.”

That’s seems a little over-sensitive to me. It’s a positive for everyone when people like Dan bring intelligent criticism to bear. If this is all it takes to bring down a brand then they didn’t stand much of a chance to begin with. This reminds me of some of the folks here that can’t handle any criticism Dan makes about Republicans. If your belief system is that fragile that says a lot more about it than Dan or anyone other critic could.

14 tofino { 10.30.09 at 1:38 pm }


arrington IS a joke: http://www.douchebagname.com

15 Michael { 10.30.09 at 1:50 pm }

beanie wrote:
“Google Maps mobile client page says it comes pre-installed on iPhone. Also, I read that Google Maps on the iPhone this month started displaying unobtrusive sponsored ads. So if Apple wrote the Maps client, would they display ads? Probably not. So Google and Apple probably worked together on the Maps client.”

Not sure where you “read” that, but I use Maps on the iPhone all the time (several times a day), I have yet to see any ads. Google’s Maps is an open API that anyone can access. It would be a trivial undertaking for Apple to write their own Maps application. If the application was indeed written by Google and not Apple, it would be called “Google Maps” and not just “Maps”, just like every other application written directly by Google. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google did send a few engineers to Apple to help on best-practice procedures for implementing their own client and optimizing data/requests from the servers. Apple does the same for major developers using their API’s; I’m sure there’s a few Apple engineers over at Adobe and Microsoft helping them move their code base to Cocoa. Given that, no one would ever say that Apple co-wrote Adobe PhotoShop or Microsoft Office.

16 cy_starkman { 10.30.09 at 7:27 pm }


“Google is not MS, who simply photo copies and uses their ill-gotten monopoly to subsidize their other projects”

Well actually they do. They are always using their monopoly to subsidise other projects. Maps Navigation is an example of that. Google is actually in the business now of specifically using the ad/search monopoly to release products would otherwise cost money to buy. Google’s train quite clearly is a) find anything that could push ads b) destroy the existing industry by releasing a free version that pushes ads and c) hope that said industry goes broke creating a vacuum now only fillable by a junked up ad streamer.

Google isn’t in navigation and doesn’t care. Anyone who thinks Google Maps is great really hasn’t had much to do with Google Maps or at least paid any attention.

Google is into ads. A Google turn by turn app, is really an ad by ad app that like a parasite takes over a range of useful technologies and reduces them to naught more than a spam inbox.

Meanwhile said useful technologies are no longer pushed along by their old (defunct) industry cause there is no point (financially) and trying to take the fight back to Google is pointless, why would Tom Tom try and take over the ad business?

Photo-copied using their ill-gotten gains. The copier warms up by paying too much for another companies work and then spends years trying to force the photocopy to present spam while the original features get sporadic and not always useful updates; new features tend to revolve around links to other Google properties and the resulting mess is amazing at ad serving, looks like a dogs breakfast and offers a feature set pulled from a jumble sale.

I have to agree with Daniel, Google wouldn’t know a UI if it smacked them round the chops. They might employ a 100,000 genius mathematicians who spend half their time jumping round the office on nerf balls while spending the other half thinking up new ways to increase the spam deluge; and yet one imagines they have already concluded that a bad interface helps serve more ads while their hapless prey is trying to work out what to do next.

I also totally disagree that Google is unobtrusive, if they have worked out anything in that department it is that “if you give a child a rattle they won’t notice the sting from the injection”. Beyond that Google’s actions are steadily eroding the net both directly and indirectly by inspiring legions of site-jackers and domain-squatters to set up automatic topic focused Google Ad Portals. These are now so dominant that depending on the topic, Google’s own first page search results are overwhelmed by these -non sites-. So you get ad’s on the result page, then you get taken to a site that is totally covered in Google’s Adfeed with Google search results made to look like content that then take you to other -non sites-.

I’ve often read about how the net is buckling under the strain of spam and email is nearly useless. There are annual studies on the subject and projections.

Ever read one on what strain the net is under due to the king of all spam, Google? No, don’t suppose that would come up on a Google search would it. It must be great to be the king.

Personally i’ll stick with companies that are making products and services because they want to make those things. Not because they are looking for another rattle to distract me while serving up ads.

17 bartfat { 10.30.09 at 9:05 pm }

Great article as usual, Daniel. It was a very lengthy read, but it was just the ticket to get my mind off a physics midterm just before taking it. Anyway, completely agree that Google has no web UI taste. However, they’re at least better than what came before them… Microsoft and Yahoo, along with other search companies that went under before they had a chance to expand. The difference is back then, we didn’t have Apple leading the design, and now we do… because Apple takes design very seriously. Maybe more seriously than any other company in the world. So it’s not really fair to compare a free product that Google is providing as a loss leader to Apple’s products, where they expect you to pay for it (indirectly, at the very least). But as always, you make a good point. You get what you pay for, though it seems too often in the tech industry, you [b]don’t[/b] get what you pay for, especially in the case of Office and Windows.

18 enzos { 10.31.09 at 11:54 pm }

“delusionally consumed by the fabulousness of its own obese shadow”

Made me laff very loudly (bastard!)


19 Cleverboy { 11.02.09 at 9:08 pm }

Great article, as usual, but I believe you have one, uncharacteristic viewpoint entirely wrong. First, Apple IS afraid of Google taking over the iPhone… but NOT App-by-App. Right now, from my point of view, the mechanism is clear. Google is taking two pronged approach in which everyone wins… consumers, competitors, partners, developers, and most of all Google. How do they do this you might ask? They are like an invisible gas filtering through every pore of the Internet.

[Google isn’t the only company providing search/maps/ads. In fact, there are other companies that would like to offer as good or better services but can’t get in the door because Google has such a great brand and position and mindshare. The fact that Microsoft couldn’t even win with bundling search into Windows is mind-blowing.

However, Google’s position is only as strong as its client apps. If Apple partnered with another company for default web search, a specialized Maps company, and so on, Google’s share of mobile ads would vanish. There isn’t that much real demand for Google search. There’s demand for search that people think of as Googling. – Dan]

My demanding “openness” Google is guaranteeing access. For the two prongs, they have Android and they have APIs. Google’s Android push is a trojan horse (as we all know). When its working properly, it is a “best practices” implementation of all of Google’s core APIs (and often new ones soon to arrive for partners). It is the showcase for the payload… Google APIs. Android is patient zero. If consumers clamor for its features, Google either provides Android itself to its partner, or in the case of Apple… allows the partner to become a HOST for its APIs. Just as Google Maps on the iPhone have begun showing ads, EVERY API Google employs is highly valuable information. Their “Analytics” program is the killer app that nets them invaluable information about consumers that no other vendor will ever have. In that same way, Google Maps for Mobile… across ALL phones, allows Google to reach a much wider audience. Adobe, with its proprietary Flash technology can only HOPE to cause the type of clamor Google has been able to harness at times… in push for different phones to get with Google technology. Google’s “cloud” is the ultimate “string” attached to any “gift” Google grants a partner. As the API becomes more and more unique, it becomes harder for partners to resist using it, or replace it, if they deem Google as having too much control over their platform and customers.

Apple has spent AMPLE time developing its iPhone environment. They have done a spectacular job they would not want wasted, by having someone provide services that eventually undermine their ability to dictate their own fate. That is the DEATH of innovation.

Decades from now, if companies like Nokia, Blackberry, and others allow Google services in, bit-by-bit, these phones eventually become defacto-Android phones… they are “Google powered” if not in branding. Apple needs a completely FREE hand to operate and does not relish thoughts of Google usurping control and 1st rung deference from its customers. Google Voice, with well managed badges, notifications, voice and voicemail, could EASILY become the default “dialing” app over Apple’s own service. Later, if they tried to improve their own, they might encounter stiff resistance, as customers settle for compromise over lost features.

This is truly an epic battle (for the fate of the Internet), and Apple and Google are waltzing very interestingly. Google’s strategy is at once brutal and relentless. First its search… then its Gmail… then Android… and all of these will eventually fit together into an interesting outcome.

20 Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as advancing technology — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 11.21.09 at 4:46 pm }

[…] year, Google debuted Maps Navigation, a turn by turn directions enhancement to the company’s Maps. This feature will be even […]

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