Google vs. Apple
Up until the mobile market exploded, Google and Apple didn’t have beef. Sure, Safari was a Chrome competitor, but other than that the two were largely making their money in separate sectors. But once iOS established itself as an innovator on the mobile platform and Google fell into chase with Android, it was on. Since then, the lay of the digital land has undergone some serious transformation, and both Google and Apple have been paving the way. Naturally, this has led to some competition, and one of the most well-publicized and documented rivalries of the tech world.
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Apple had a head start in smartphones. The iPhone was introduced in the summer of 2007, since claiming millions of customers who have never looked back. Android didn’t come claim its first phone until November of 2008. The OS has had an uphill battle, but the niche platform grew as it refined its technology and partnered with increasingly sophisticated manufacturers. As tablets began infiltrating the market, the competition extended there as well.
So of course, cue the name calling. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been incredibly critical of iOS’ main rival, and he hasn’t held back. He once said “Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone,” and more than once he has said the platform’s fragmentation will lead to its demise. Google’s shot back by constantly comparing its open, developer-friendly OS to Apple’s tightly closed doors.
Android’s been able to make a serious dent in what could have been an even more Apple-dominated market. The iPhone remains on top of its game, but Android has become the most popular OS according to recent surveys, and it’s replaced Symbian as the top global smartphone seller. Its tablet game is improving with the launch of Honeycomb, and it’s becoming increasingly popular with app developers. Still, nothing has quite been proven to drive interest like even the whisper of a new iOS device, so the battle between these two is just beginning.
Chrome OS goes head to head with Macs
Competition between Google and Apple doesn’t stop at the mobile market: It marches right on ahead to include PCs. Google’s Chrome Web browser has been a popular platform in the last few years, and evolved into Google’s concept of a completely cloud-based OS.
Chrome OS was introduced in late 2010, complete with a Google concept laptop, the CR-48. While both are still in beta testing (we think…it’s been awhile since Google or the Chromium team have released any updates), the system itself is a leap from traditional operating systems. It’s entirely Web-based with no installed software, and users are forever inside Chrome tabs. Of course, Mac OS is an established platform, and one that shows no signs of losing even close to a significant amount of users to Chrome. Sure, the Google team can stress the openness of its own OS and hype cloud-based storage all they want, but it can’t compete on a large scale with Apple’s Mac market. Also not helping? Google already has a reputable OS: Android. Sure, it’s only for mobile, but such separate branding isn’t winning it any notoriety or building on an established fan base.
The creator of Gmail even said Chrome OS is doomed to be killed off or merged with Android, and all Google will say is that it’s still experimenting with the program. In Chrome’s defense, one really good weapon it brought to compete with Mac is the Chrome Web Store. It got a leg up on the Mac App Store with its earlier launch, and thus far has been fairly popular with Chrome users. That’s not to say that the Mac App Store’s numbers haven’t blown it out of the water (they have), but it’s important for Google to offer consumers choices in this arena and its product is doing this much.
Winner: Mac OS
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