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6/14/2012
07:20 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics

Apple should spend more energy innovating and enabling its developers to innovate and less energy on policing. That's how it will stay ahead of Google.

Apple lost the desktop war to Microsoft, though its armistice treaty with Microsoft--when Microsoft bought $150 million in preferred Apple shares in 1997--helped Apple survive long enough for Steve Jobs to turn things around.

Apple has dominated the mobile era, but Google has been closing the gap. Apple should remain a leader for years, but Google will not be crushed the way Apple was by Microsoft at the height of its power.

The Internet of Things will require partnerships, openness, and connectivity. It will be a continuation of existing computing trends: Computers started as room-sized behemoths, got smaller, and ended up on desktops. Then they became luggable, portable, and finally mobile. Soon mobility won't matter: Computers and networked things will be everywhere. Take a look at what Samsung has done with TecTiles and extrapolate from there.

Phones, tablets, and computers will be obvious interfaces for the networked world. Augmented reality glasses too, and TVs with Kinect-like gesture capture. But the ecosystem won't matter as much; the Web will supplant the operating system and app store. Apps have enjoyed supremacy because Web technologies have been slow to mature, to accommodate touch interaction, and to incorporate offline functionality. That will pass.

While Apple has demonstrated its ability to orchestrate a vital ecosystem through iTunes, iOS, and OS X, its desire to control everything and take a cut will be its downfall. The success of Apple's ecosystem has a lot to do with the quality of Apple's products. But it also has to do with Android's late start, subpar software development kit releases, version fragmentation, and lack of mobile carrier coordination. For everything Apple did right, Google was doing something wrong.

But that's changing. Google is now a hardware company, thanks to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. It has bought arms for the patent war. It has learned from its mistakes--direct phone sales, Google TV 1.0, and so on. It isn't yet the finely tuned, focused machine that is Apple, but it's becoming a lot more like Apple.

Apple is becoming more like Google, too: It owns an ad company, has invested in maps, voice interaction, and cloud services. But it could do more. Apple needs to do less toll-taking and more enabling, even if there's no immediate revenue benefit to Apple in so doing.

The company's recent rejection of Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil Speakers Touch 3 app offers an example of unnecessary heavy-handedness. Airfoil Speakers Touch 3 had a feature that allowed users to receive AirPlay audio from another iOS device or from iTunes directly. Apple removed the app, citing developer rules violations.

"You may be asking why Apple would want to prevent users from having this functionality," Rogue Amoeba CEO Paul Kafasis said in a blog post. "Only Apple can provide a full answer here. We do know that Airfoil Speakers Touch's ability to receive audio directly from iTunes and iOS enabled some users to forgo purchasing expensive AirPlay hardware, hardware which Apple licenses. It seems Apple has chosen to use their gatekeeper powers to simply prevent competition."

Apple encrypts AirPlay, and Rogue Amoeba's software defeated that encryption, which presumably represents the rules violation Apple cited. Rogue Amoeba defends its actions as allowable under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for purposes of interoperability. Apple's rules however render the company's legal argument irrelevant. Apple is within its rights, yet what it is doing is unnecessary. It is limiting competition and it doesn't have to.

Apple should be using licensing programs like AirPlay and MiFi to promote innovation on its platform rather than stifle it. It should relax its content limitations for apps and focus on technical criteria for approval. It should design apps like iAd Creator and iBook Author with an eye toward interoperability instead of hamstringing them with contractual restrictions.

Apple should spend more energy innovating and enabling its developers to innovate and less energy on policing. That's how it will stay ahead of Google.

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Faye Kane, homeless brain
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Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2012 | 2:27:44 AM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
==--
You know, Belkin, sarcastic insults only work against someone who is wrong. You said:

"iBook Author... the ONLY requirement is that you cannot copy the format to use on another platform - NOT THE CONTENT, YOU OWN THAT - only the file format can only be used on an IOS device, wow, some restriction"

That's right, some restriction. I wrote an intense sex-slave porn story that I suspect will sell well because it really happened to me. Last week I had to decide what software to use to format and distribute it. After reading the e-publishing article David Carnoy wrote two weeks ago at C-NET, I discovered that there are two real choices when e-publishing: amazon and smashwords. Note that neither of them is iBook, which is only mentioned in passing.

Gû¦ Why in the WORLD would I or anyone else want to develop a book that can't be read at Amazon.com, by far the world's biggest bookstore?

Other commenters here are exactly right. When companies get big, they become infected with some kind of greed-rabies. It makes them deemphasize the creation of products people like, and instead, they allocate resources to damaging their competition, their customers, their reputation, and ultimately, themselves. IBM is the best example, but with Win8, Microsoft is clearly on the path to corporate suicide.

Now that Apple is powerful, damn if they aren't doing the exact same thing: believing that there's a difference between what's good for their company and what's good for their customers.

--faye
jbelkin
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jbelkin,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 9:16:11 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
You're defnse of Google and its business plan is cute but naive. Two things. OPEN is fine for the internet but every successful business model is based on a fencing of some kind - just like the difference betwen a national park with roads and rangers to shot if a bear attacks you. You might enjoy the complete open life & death space of the north pole - great for you but NO THANKS for 99.5% of us non-anarchists. Also, if you think Google is open, you are naive - Google only wants others to open their business. Where's the technology on search? Where is the openess there? Again, they only want open on businesses where they make no money (ie: anything other than search). You;re simply deluding yourself if you think open is any business model - it's the same as a pay as you decide what it's worth restuarnt - cute but not a long term plan. Google thought they could replicate the mozilla model with android - the only way they could hope to catch up to apple - leverage 35 corporate programming teams plus freelancers ... only unlike defeating explorer with mozilla, Apple is a much more nimble target. After 5 years, what innovations has android added? NOTHING. They started on a moral low ground by having Schmidt race back from board meetings to scribble on a whiteboard. Clealy open to you means no ethics either? Once you start there, they kept looking around for shortcuts and ultimately, you have 35 teams copying each other after they copy Apple. Slow? Android OS. wonky. Android OS? Weak IOS copy? Android. Can't beat Apple on resolution or screen quality - we'll keep the same pixels and just make the screen 4.99"! What could be more Google innovative than that? It's no wonder that after 10 years and hundreds of acquistions, Google makes 96% of it revenue from ad search links. They are a great one trick pony but compared to Apple, they are the classified ads of technology ... and either you;re an idiot or you purposely misrepresent the truth - iAd Creator and iBook Author are NOT ONLY FREE for ANYONE to use but the ONLY requirement is that you cannot copy the format to use on another platform - NOT THE CONTENT, YOU OWN THAT - only the file format can only be used on an IOS device, wow, some restriction - but of course, the actual truth doesn't gib with your misguided ramblings.
dcssteve
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dcssteve,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 7:23:02 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
As someone that has been in the computer business for four decades, I have seen this pattern often. Companies start out small, become large through innovation, and then start protecting themselves through litigation. Many of these companies are no longer around because litigation is a poor excuse for innovation. A prime example was Digital Equipment Corporation, king of mini-computers.

Apple is extremely innovative; they can compete with Google. They also have the advantage of homogeneous devices and software making integration of applications across platforms much easier. If Apple starts relying on lawyers, it will not serve them well.

The decision to drop Google maps is not good. They need to bring the best to their users. I was planning to change from an Android to an iPhone soon but now will have to evaluate how this affects maps and navigation. The Android is very good at this. However, there are many issues with Android: Constantly changing user interfaces, software applications that hang, and lack of integration between all devices such as the iPad and iPhone have. My Android reminds me a little of running Windows due to similar realtime operating system problems and update issues. I do not want to wake up in the morning and find I no longer know how to manipulate application icons.

Google is building a huge ego; look at what happened to Android Market; it is now Google Play. I woke up one morning to this change. Research showed that Google was getting worried about name recognition in the Andoid market and decided to change Market to Google Play. Google also needs to concentrate on innovations and not so much on Google ruling the world.

The single biggest thing that hurt iPhone was the lack of openness to carriers; I wonder where they might be if Verizon had come 6 months or a year earlier? Poor thinking is your worst enemy!

Apple has a great head start, wonderful integration and the iPad. I recommend that Apple keep working on their advantage, innovation and more competitive pricing. People will move to the best cost performance devices.

Innovation and competition are good for consumers and companies. Litigation only serves the lawyers and there are all ready too many of those in America.
JameKatt
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JameKatt,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 4:26:43 AM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Apple has the resources to fight both legally and through innovation.
Apple is already eliminating Google's income from the iOS platform by replacing Google Maps with Apple's own iMap app. Apple is also eliminating Google's primary income by replacing web searches with Siri voice searches. If this spreads to Windows, then Google stands to lose huge income when no one does web based searches anymore.
Stynkfysh
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Stynkfysh,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 10:54:09 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Thomas - you are so right! Apple does need to loose the reins. While people praise Apple for their super-successful iPhone sales, they forget that Apple initially only allowed iPhones on limited carriers globally which enabled their inferior competition to rise on other carriers. They did it so that they could put the pricing screws to the carriers for exclusivity, thereby birthing their nemesis, Android. Long term, their control lost them control and will continue to do so.

And now we see carriers starting to revolt under the pricing pressure from Apple. In the US, carriers are not allowed to alter pricing for iPhones - and carriers get charged more for iPhones than other similar phones (supposedly). Verizon recently added an 'upgrade' fee for new phones, but have dropped Android phones down in price - AND if you make a fuss when buying, you have a very good chance of getting them to discount an Android phone further. For example, the new 16GB Galaxy S III is $199 and the 32GB version is $249 on pre-order. Previously, before the upgrade fee was introduced, 32GB flagship Android phones were $299. Verizon has, in effect, increased the cost to purchase iPhones only. I just read a report this week that said the Droid Razr (and/or Maxx) outsold iPhone on Verizon... evidence that it is starting to happen.

I can hear Princess Leia saying to Apple - "The more you tighten your grip, Apple, the more smart-phones will slip through your fingers"...
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 9:41:24 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I didn't read the words "Android is a stolen product" in the piece. It's fair to say that the idea for a UNIX/Linux based OS behind a resistive touch screen interface, as implemented by Google, was pretty darn similar to iOS.

There were many differences but hey, with Schmidt on the board and not recusing himself until Android became a reality who can claim that Google didn't copy just a couple of ideas? You can't copyright or patent an idea so Apple, ever frustrated, went after whatever patents it thought it could.

That said, Mr. Claburn is right. This is childish and it takes Apple's eyes off the prize. They've gotten to where they are by imagining the future, not by litigating the past.

It's a compliment that the feature set of the iPhone is now a sort of benchmark for what smartphones should have (aside from features like RIM's BES). Accept the compliment, license what you can and move on to the next killer idea.

Apple's branding is to design the future. If they do that they will never want for revenue.
JimBob74932
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JimBob74932,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 9:10:51 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Android is a stolen product? Sounds stupid when the core operating system on all of Apple's devices are derived from BSD.
sonicmetalman
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sonicmetalman,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 7:08:13 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I guess I would sum this up as "Google innovates, everyone else litigates". It's hard to argue against this by looking back at events of the last 4 years. Apple and Microsoft seemed almost fearless in the past when it came to rolling out fresh ideas and new technologies, now they are but tired parodies of themselves. They have become what everyone hated about IBM back in the day.

Tom Claburn
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Tom Claburn,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 7:08:08 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
I'm not saying Apple should not defend itself at all. Rather it should spent less time in non-productive conflict and circling its wagons. When Microsoft invested $150 million in 1997, Steve Jobs had to explain the cessation of hostiles with Apple's arch-enemy at the time. As recounted by Wired, he told Mac supporters, "We have to let go of a few notions here. We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose." Tim Cook might try substituting the word "Google" for "Microsoft" in that sentence.

And as for the copyright at the bottom of the page, I have no say over that. It might as well not be there though since InformationWeek articles are routinely copied in part or in whole and re-published without permission. That's the Internet for you. Having a copyright notice does very little to stop copying.
Don108
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Don108,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 5:29:02 PM
re: Apple's War Against Google: Time For New Tactics
Two things. First, it wasn't an "armistice treaty with Microsoft--when Microsoft bought $150 million in preferred Apple shares in 1997--helped Apple survive long enough for Steve Jobs to turn things around." Rather, Apple had caught Microsoft stealing Quicktime code. Rather than years in trials and Microsoft eventually paying Apple billions, they agreed to cross-license certain patents (you didn't know about that and ignored it) and MS paid off Apple by keeping Office available for the Mac and giving Apple some chump change.

Second, I'll accept your idea that Apple shouldn't defend their work and let others simply steal it when you delete the "Copyright -¬ 2012 UBM TechWeb, All rights reserved." found at the bottom of the page.

Or are you really just a hypocrite telling others to do what you won't?
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