Clash of Giants: Apple vs Google

Google and Apple are chasing the same customers from seemingly orthogonal angles. Apple wants a design conscious, privacy guarding customer with a refined taste and a fat credit card. However, Google is content with just about everybody as long as they open up their lives to the borg. Free vs paid, open vs closed, client vs cloud, is there a clear winner?

In the article, Google on Apple: The end is near, Mike Elgan argues that soon you’ll have to chose between these companies as their ecosystems are becoming ever more incompatible with each other. He goes on to say:

Because Siri and Google Now will get better over time by integrating apps and services controlled by Apple and Google, respectively — and because we’ll rely more on those virtual assistants — users will be discouraged from using Google services on Apple hardware.

Because Apple is actively working to replace Google services for OS X and iOS users — and integrate Apple’s alternatives into Apple’s operating systems — Apple users will be increasingly discouraged from using any Google products at all.

The problem Apple has is essentially that competition has surpassed the iPhone and is now better in many instances and use cases. Apple is now playing catch up on all fronts and that is a flawed strategy. Apple has to go back to the innovation room and craft a new vision for its product portfolio. Incrementalism doesn’t fit the bill anymore.

Google however, has problems in many more fields. It’s still largely a search company, despite many acquisitions and new ventures. But this strategy could ultimately backfire if/when a new competitor with newer technology disrupts the search market. Apple’s Spotlight search functionality will clearly shave some points from Google’s market share as Apple has now integrated several natural search capabilities into its Mac search experience.

What this means for consumers is an experience very similar to the purchase of a car. Consumers are being cornered into monolithic brand experiences that leave little room for integration and customization. This consolidation will also translate into less choices for consumers and this two companies grow.

If not today, maybe in a couple of years but you’ll soon have to chose between an Apple or Google kind of live.