On the day that Apple is in the news as a co-defendant of an anti-trust class action lawsuit, Google is in the news for making its mobile device application process more open.
Whether it’s impeccable planning or dumb luck, it’s good news for Google, which is under heavy fire for its business practices across the pond. Google is the enemy of several prominent technology companies: it’s Google vs. Facebook for how to organize and monetize personal information for ads; it’s Google vs. Microsoft for the share of our desktop applications and web browsers; and of course is Apple vs. Google for the smartphone operating system market.
Without overtly saying so, Google is trying to distance themselves from both the iPhone/iPad app store and their worries in Europe with today’s announcement. The open app builder is a nod to the legal and regulatory hurdles that any large company faces, but it’s also an important business and positioning strategy.
Computer nerds of yesteryear may begin to recognize Google’s strategy for taking down Apple. In the 1980s, Apple computers were an island – Apple software only worked on Apple hardware. IBM, the other major personal computer manufacturer, built a platform that could be cloned, resulting in “IBM-compatible” computers. As computers found their way into the home, the consumer had two choices – one computer that could run software built for multiple platforms, and one which could only run Apple-specific programs. It didn’t kill off Apple’s computer business, but it’s the reason that Windows PC’s (the descendant of the IBM-compatibles) have the market share they have today.
Today, Google’s Android OS is available on multiple smartphones from multiple carriers, just like Microsoft’s MS-DOS was available on multiple types of computers by 1989. And Apple’s iPhone only runs apps designed specifically for Apple’s iPhone. And by democratizing their app process, Google is trying to remind us all of just that.