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Summary:

One of the on-again, off-again hot topics within the blogosphere and the mainstream press is where or not Google will ever build its own desktop operating system. So when Steve Jobs announced that Eric Schmidt was joining the Apple board, I was somewhat surprised that the […]

One of the on-again, off-again hot topics within the blogosphere and the mainstream press is where or not Google will ever build its own desktop operating system. So when Steve Jobs announced that Eric Schmidt was joining the Apple board, I was somewhat surprised that the speculations of a Google OS didn’t flare up again… that was the first thing that went through my mind.

Apple and Google are, strategically speaking, highly complementary. There is little overlap between the core competencies of the two innovators, and thus the strategic opportunities for cooperation/alliances are vast. A few weeks ago, Om scribed his thoughts on what an alliance might mean on the digital media front. But let me add to his thoughts by shifting the focus a bit… Google can benefit greatly from having an inside relationship with a hardware & system software company; and in turn, Apple can gain much from Google’s web expertise.

Such a view is particularly relevant when it’s put into the context of a common enemy… Microsoft. As I’ve written before, Google seems to be pursuing a long-term competitive strategy that strikes at the heart of Microsoft’s core strength… by deflating and devaluing ownership of the desktop OS franchise, and shifting it to the web. Yet, the migration is a long and arduous process, highly dependent on the nirvana of always-on, never disconnected broadband. Google, in other words, can certainly use a “bridge” in the near term, until the future arrives.

In fact, so could Apple. With Microsoft now extending its desktop by embracing the webtop, with its comprehensive “Live” strategy, Ray Ozzie is clearly in the process of building his own bridge. Meanwhile, as Apple pursues its vision of becoming the new “Sony” of the 21st century, it risks dilution of focus by stretching its resources too thin. Now more than ever, Apple needs to defend, and hopefully grow, its share of the desktop market and, given the direction of the market, Google represents an ideal ally.

The chess board is shifting… and it’s heading in a direction that favors an alliance between Google and Apple. Specifically, the two companies have an opportunity to combine their resources and their brands to extend Apple’s operating system functionality with Google’s growing webtop application capabilities (without each having to reinvent the wheel by duplicating efforts).

Doing so would not only result in a suite of integrated web/desktop solutions that the market is currently demanding, it would also provide a direct response to the increasing threat of a new and improved, re-invented Microsoft. Given such a perspective, it makes great mutual fiduciary sense for the CEO of Google to sit on Apple’s board.

  1. “The chess board is shifting… and it’s heading in a direction that favors an alliance … without each having to reinvent the wheel”

    Mixed metaphors with cliche sauce. Mmm. What’s for dessert?

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  2. new online video frontiers…

    Microsoft’s answer to YouTube? Soapbox. And some interesting rumours about Apple and Google Video… (Oh, and just found an interesting analysis of the possibilities of an Apple/Google alliance) Technorati Tags: apple, google, microsoft, soapbox, vid…

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  3. i love the idea of google helping apple build a desktop OS, but that’s why it’ll never happen – because i want it to happen.

    i still don’t know what google was hiring those electrical engineers for a few months ago.

    and i don’t think google will be able to convince apple to drop their loserish/niche/overpriced/closed/failing ways. Apple just has too long of failure. it’s ingrained. a tradition of ripping their eager-to-be-manhandled fanboys and fangirls is equally ingrained. they love to take advantage of the passivity of their fans.

    in other desktop-related news, anyone keeping up with Ubuntu? the billionaire who doesn’t know what to do with his money is wasting it all over the place. he spent a lot of money on these expensively-done ‘go open source’ shows (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7708620938068017057&q=go+open+source) – which seems to be more like a ‘hey, look at me, i am a rich southafrican-astronaut-geek dude-and-well-that-is-it’ – but it’s interesting. It just seems to me that what few folks in the Unix/Linux/etc. community have been interested in competing for the desktop – they just seem to be so committed to failure it’s difficult to figure out what drives them. i mean, who tries to compete on the desktop by integrating an entire, full-featured, desktop app suite and more? it’s like the dude never came back down from outer space. it’s sad b/c his heart seems to be basically in the right place, but man that dude is misguided. he should work for Apple.

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  4. Christ, the same old “Apple is close/losing/etc.” Peter, buddy, they’re doing fine. Leave it alone.

    As to Google/OS X somehow working together… I don’t know how that will go. The point really needs to be made that Apple is a fabulous hardware company that does great software. They aren’t as threatened by Google as Microsft is, but they need to be sure that their hardware and software works seamlessly with Google. Google and Sun, now that attitude of “it’s all in the network” could lead to more rumors.

    Oh, wait, they already have a partnership. Never mind.

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  5. This is scary (for the online drive guys, including me)…

    Google providing the web expertise and backend storage capacity for a much improved .mac service. CAll it .mac 2.0.

    However, getting Google to improve .mac would be cool for customers.

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  6. Hmmm…Apple’s current media play is a highly structured, closed loop system covering the whole content to delivery value chain and back again for music and (they hope) video.

    Its CPE play is iConic, which never hurts either…blew the established players away.

    Google “owns” that central search and aggregation space for the Web…but has nothing like Apple’s closed loop value chain. There are a lot of (a googol of?) Google wannabees trying to disintermediate / disrupt / devalue etc their business model, and you can’t build or buy ‘em all.

    If only we could have a locked in system like iTunes, where using our stuff end-to-end confers huge user benefits, you can imagine them asking. We’ve got the search and aggregation, we’ve got servers and can rent the pipes for a pittance – but we have no iConic CPE.

    So..can Apple + Google = iTunes for the whole Web then? Will Goople rule OK?

    Clearly Microsoft and Yahoo then have no option but to jump into bed too…and the MShoo alliance is born.

    You heard it here first :)

    Putting the Con into conspiracy theories…

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  7. Apple + Google on an OS… I doubt it. But, that’s as good a reason as any for it to happen. When I wash my car it ALWAYS rains the next day.

    cm’s right (above). I’d see Sun + Google doing an OS deal much sooner than an Apple play. Schmidt + Schwartz = Joy

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  8. [...] day up in Redmond. More importantly, these apps could be used on a daily basis. (Robert Young in an earlier piece had outlined how Apple and Google can work together.  ) What do you guys think? Share This | [...]

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  9. [...] And so they played in the new smartphone playground together and giggled at Yahoo and Microsoft and Adobe and everyone else. They were the coolest kids, they told everyone how happy they were, and everyone thought they were theperfect lovers. [...]

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  10. [...] And so they played in the new smartphone playground together and giggled at Yahoo and Microsoft and Adobe and everyone else. They were the coolest kids, they told everyone how happy they were, and everyone thought they were the perfect lovers. [...]

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