Why I’m Excited By the Apple-Google Rivalry

Nov 6, 2011
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Why I’m Excited By the Apple-Google Rivalry

If I were to look around the technology space, I can’t find a single rivalry that is becoming more bitter than the one between Apple and Google. From cloud-based services to mobile operating systems to advertising, the companies are engaged in a war that could last for years.

[Image credit: Ana Belén Ramón]

There are some who say that the battle between Apple and Google is a bad thing for the industry, consumers, and even the companies themselves. They say that an arms race will occur in the not-so-distant future that will eliminate all chances for smaller companies to compete, and thus solidify Apple’s and Google’s positions as huge and dominant players in the marketplace.

Those critics also say that consumers might eventually be hurt by the battle since the companies could come to an odd Detente that stymies innovation growth.

But I don’t see it that way. In fact, I firmly believe that the rivalry between Apple and Google is both a good thing for consumers and all the companies in the marketplace that might be trying to catch up.

See, a real issue in business is when one company dominates a respective market. We see it in the operating system space where Microsoft dominates with Windows, and thus dictates the next logical steps in innovation in that market. Sure, Mac OS X and Linux are competing there, but let’s face it: the money is with Microsoft, and thus, we all lose because of it.

[aquote]Along the way, we benefit[/aquote]

But with Google and Apple, the companies are forced to share the wealth. Whether it’s mobile operating systems, app stores, or cloud services, they need to constantly look at what the other is doing and try to top it. And along the way, we benefit.

The chances of us benefiting from an Apple-Google battle are heightened in the living room. As I noted in an earlier column here on SlashGear, I believe that the long-rumored Apple television could be a real issue for Google TV. So, Google will either have to accept that and admit defeat or deliver its own solution to combat Apple’s. My guess is Google will choose the latter.

But it goes beyond benefiting consumers. Smaller companies or other firms that are delivering products that Apple and Google aren’t necessarily interested in competing with also win out because of their battle. If Android wasn’t pressuring iOS, would Apple have ever acquired Siri? It’s doubtful. And if there wasn’t an Apple TV, would Google have ever thought about creating a solution for set-top box and television makers?

The fact is, we’re in the middle of an exciting time. Two tech giants that lack the stranglehold they so desire on the markets they care about are trying desperately to top the other. And so far, it doesn’t appear that either side is winning.

In fact, the only party that’s winning in the Apple-Google war is us. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that.


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