The Google/Apple war rages on. With the release of the iPad, and a thickening plot that adds Verizon Wireless, Adobe, and even China to the expanding list of Google foes, it’s impossible to ignore the situation.
But why should we care? As consumers, what implications does this have for us? And as business professionals, what lessons can we take away?
Competition breeds innovation.
Google and Apple – two companies with formerly divergent products – now compete with hardware, software, and even advertising. When two similar brands battle, greater innovation and lower prices ensue, and consumers inevitably emerge victorious.
Google has struggled to profit from anything but search, which is why hardly a week goes by without word of another Google innovation. The Nexus One left the iPhone in its dust with features like a better camera and copy/paste capability. Only time will tell how Apple will retaliate. (Some speculate that Apple may eventually lower prices.)
Brand trust is a must.
Google had been criticized of rushing to get Nexus One on the market, and letting customer service fall by the wayside. While Apple conducted years of research and nailed down all necessary patents before bringing the iPhone to market, Google’s entrance into the mobile market was rushed in comparison.
This raises the question of how much money consumers will invest in Android apps, knowing Google might not continue with the Nexus One. Apple’s iPhone, on the other hand, already has apps that will work on the iPod and iPad. For the time being, Apple has the key advantage of higher consumer trust.
All eyes are on search.
It’s obvious that there’s plenty of money to be made in search, specifically in paid search. Turning search queries into leads has become huge business. Google commands this market, generating money through online advertising. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently predicted another significant result of the feud: Apple’s foray into the search realm:
We believe the odds of Apple developing a search engine in the next five years are 70%. One hurdle for Apple in developing its own search engine would be generating enough advertiser interest to form a competitive marketplace; however, we believe the rationale for an Apple search product is to protect data rather than generate profit.
Apple may not seem like a big threat in the search world. However, since it controls more than half of the mobile Web market share, Munster suggests Apple can use the data it has captured from having Google maps and search accessible on the iPhone to improve its own products, ultimately surpassing Google in the search arena.