Monday, February 01, 2010

Google Vs. Apple - Who is better for the internet?

I was tweeting these thoughts but it's too complex for a series of tweets/sound bites so here is a blog post to elaborate. First the facts. Both Apple and Google are Corporations and therefore have the goal of making profit for their shareholders. Both are doing everything possible to make their shareholders money so there is no good guy/bad guy scenario, it's just economics. However, there is a distinct advantage for the consumer and the evolution of the internet regarding Google's business model vs. apple's business model. This is because of how these companies make their money. Google is, first and foremost, an advertising company and their mode of delivery is the interwebs. Their goal is to get as many people online as possible AND make the online experience as awesome and cheap as possible so they will stay online longer. period. The more people are online the more money they will get from Google Ads. This is how they make 97% of their money and since most people don't even know that fact, I think that just shows that their ads are not so annoying as to bother people surfing the interwebs. Google doesn't care if people are on a mac or pc or really what browser they are using as long as the browser displays ads. They don't make any money from selling Chrome or Android, etc. Those are actually free and open source tools that anyone can use. Motorola can thank Google for the free Android OS that they built their phone on. Yes, these tools serve google's money making purposes in the long run because the android OS makes the internet more accessible, and that's where they want people to be, but they are still free and open and high quality, which makes for a good competitive environment where consumers win. Companies that make money from selling proprietary tools at high cost don't like a company like google who pretty much gives them away in exchange for the hope that you will click on their ads some day. I personally think thats a fair exchange.

Apple is a different company with a completely different way of doing business. Apple makes money not from advertisements, but from selling cutting edge software, hardware, and media. They also sell a computing experience that they believe deserves a premium price tag. Unlike Google, whose main interest is getting people online to click ads, Apple wants people online to buy their media primarily through itunes (music, movies, books, computers, etc). So Apple has to be thinking, "how can we get the most amount of people to buy our media?" Solution = Iphone-like OS and App store. This allows them to control the entire experience from what apps go on the system to whether or not flash will work in the browser. Their method to get what they want means a closed system of control in which they call all the shots. The method for google to get what they want = an open and free internet. I think Apple makes some awesome products, but I still like choices. Though google and apple are very different companies, they both affect the evolution of the internet. Google's ad driven approach creates a much more open internet ecosystem. Apple's app store approach creates a user friendly experience, but a more closed-off internet, in which apple calls all the shots with their app approval system. Which company do you think is better for the internet?


brian childs said...

Interesting thoughts. Make sure you read the Business Week article: Apple vs. Google as well.

sam parks said...

great post Terence! A lot of interesting info packed into this article!

admittedly, I'm no techie, but it would seem that the google leaves itself more open to competition and further development. When I start using a Google product, I am free to jump ship at any time with the emergence of better technologies from other sources. They seem to be making their products less and less restrictive - Google Docs, for example, no longer has to be used in conjunction with Gmail, and can be synced with desktop files of various formats. Since I am free to leave, Google has to continue to prove to me why I should be using their product and not someone else's.

Apple's model has its advantages too, I'm sure. Haha, but I'm sure there are some advantages too living in China, Venezuela, or North Korea, too! I'll take freedom. Just trying to figure out what to do with AAC formatted songs and audiobooks has been enough to turn me off. The iPad has only furthered my suspicions that Apple is trying to suck me into their tightly-controlled universe. In the past, I've often been a near-convert to apple. But the closed nature of the iPad seems to be indicative of where Apple is heading. I'm also annoyed at the implications of Apple buying lala, and all this combines to ferment a bit of an apple-revolt in me.

In short, even if the restrictiveness of Apple can at times produce a better overall product, I'd still say that the freedom and competitiveness of companies like Google are better for the internet, for society, and for my personal convenience! No thanks, Apple!

Terence Armentano, M.Ed. said...

Thanks for commenting. Humorous and insightful Sam. This is article is fitting for the conversation. Here is a quote from it, "Years and years after Microsoft's antitrust headlines, Apple is now the anti-competitive monster that Jobs rallied us against in the infamous 1984 commercial. Steve Jobs is the oppressive man on the jumbotron and the Olympian carrying the hammer is the open-source movement" What do you think? Has Apple and Microsoft traded spots?

Michael Edwards said...

Just a minor correction. The 1984 apple ad was actually targetting IBM, not Microsoft. Microsoft wasn't dominating at that time.

I'll leave the discussion of whether or not Apple completely deserves the title of "anti-competitive monster" for another day :).

At least at this point, they do not have a monopoly in any sense of the word in the way that Microsoft did and, to some degree, still does.

Terence Armentano, M.Ed. said...

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article that supports the idea that Apple is becoming the new Microsoft. Read the short of of it at Gizmodo. You disagree? -

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Culture said...

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Debdas Mohapatra said...

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