back to article Battle lines drawn in Apple-Google warfare

The battle between Apple and Google is heating up, with execs taking potshots at each other and Silicon Valley insiders choosing sides - some by getting new business cards. "It's World War III. Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry," a "well-connected" investor told The New York Times …


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  1. Cliff

    Microsoft keeping quiet...

    And they will stay quiet if they have any sense. Let both sides spend so much time hurling shit at each other that MS can walk away with the high ground and the business each side loses from scared customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More than that

      Microsoft would have to do a lot more than nothing to ever see my business again.

  2. Alastair 7
    Jobs Halo


    "This is the biggest ego battle in history. "


  3. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Nothing Like Watching...

    ...your rivals duke it out.

    and a box of peanuts, please.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Google + Nokia

    If Google bought Nokia, now, that really would be tough for Apple and my money would be then be on Google because of Nokia's GSM patents.

    As it is, in this battle, Google will lose. Eventually. In the mean time, lots of lawyers will get very rich.

    It is very amusing to think Microsoft and Apple could be on the same side.

    1. idasben


      You're correct that Google will loose, people think Google has big cash pots, they're peanuts compared to Apple.

      However, Google buy Nokia? Doubt it, Nokia have more cash and market than pretty much any other phone company/most companies full stop, they would seriously struggle to purchase Nokia outright, especially when Nokia are seeking to challenge Android with Symbian/Maemo.

      Finally, while it might be amusing Apple & Microsoft aren't really at war as such, they compete sure, but they also work together on things such as MS licensing Activesync for the iPhone etc. Look for an area where Google and Microsoft work together, the same for Apple? pretty much none as Google continually seeks to be the disruptor in a market.

      The thing is, put the cat amongst the pigeons too much and the pigeons might just all team up and take the cat out (read through this metaphor to companies getting fed up of an online advertiser disrupting all their core businesses with ad funded models).

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Your argument isn't valid, the example your gave, of apple and microsoft working together, licensing activesync for the iphone, would also stand to answer the question you posed

        "Look for an area where Google and Microsoft work together, the same for Apple?"

        The following statement was quoted from an El Reg story that ran on 10 feb 2009

        "Online-ads and search powerhouse Google has licensed Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync so users running Microsoft Outlook email, calendar, and contacts can work with its Google Sync service, unveiled as a beta today."

        so as you can see, its pretty obvious to the rest of us readers that someone failed to do his homework before spouting pointless banter on a public forum....

        This message was brought to you by your local chapter of the Think Before You Speak committee.

        1. Maliciously Crafted Packet

          You forgot about TrueType

          Agreements between Apple and Microsoft go back many years. Chances are your using the fruits of that tech agreement right now in the shape of the fonts you are using to read this article.

          And remember Microsoft was not the only culprit in the killing of Netscape. Apple also stuck the knife in by making Internet Explorer the default browser on the Mac.

          Apple and Microsoft are not adverse to joining forces when it suits them. And I think now it is one of those times. For the both of them I think its a case of better the devil you know.

      2. Adam Williamson 1
        Thumb Down

        Er, no. You're way off. (Google / Nokia / Apple)

        idasben: it's really not that hard to do basic research. It took me thirty seconds to verify that you're entirely wrong. Google's slightly more than three times the size of Nokia: Google's market cap is $180bn, Nokia's is $56bn. Apple is slightly bigger than Google at $200bn, but it's hardly right to say that Google is 'peanuts compared to Apple'. Microsoft's at $250bn, FWIW. (Interestingly, both Apple and Google have almost exactly the same amount of cash on hand - $24bn). All this stuff is right there on their Yahoo! finance profiles.

        Either Google or Apple could, financially, afford to buy Nokia, in a part cash, part equity deal - it'd be a significant move for either, but possible. I rather doubt either *would*, though.

  5. vincent himpe

    please oh please let apple switch to bing

    i'd be laughing my head off. just like in the past (OS9 era) when you asked the fanbois why the y chose an apple they would rant about how bad microsshiite was and how their system was infinitely better. When asked what apps they ran on their box the answer would invariably be MS internet Explore , MS Word , MS Excel , MS powerpoint ..

    It was so much fun to tell them that all their applications were made by their oh so hated microsoft. Their head would go from pasty white to tomato red in 2 seconds flat upon which it would explode.

    So please lets switch apple to microsofts search engine now. Ahh memories. i treasure them

    1. Barry Lane 1

      @vincent himpe

      Ah, Vincent

      Microsoft were for many years the biggest manufacturer of Mac software in the universe. For all I know, they are even now. As for it being "so much fun" to tell us that "all" our apps are made by Microsoft, d'uh! We know. The only head going "from pasty white to tomato red" will have been yours, as you are the only person in the world who didn't know that we knew all this stuff. What are you: 12?

      We used to have to use MS stuff because the rest of the shit-eating fly world seemed to believe that yer average beige PC box represented the latest big thing in computing and there were anyway few options available. Actually, Microsoft's Mactopia site is pretty good and the people there are apparently real Mac fans. They're good at updating even quite elderly versions of Office, too, so more power to them for that.

      You probably didn't know that MS own a small chunk of Apple. I guess there's probably a whole lot of stuff you don't know. Like when to shut up.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        When I used a Mac in the business world, in 1990, Claris had good apps. All Apps were not made by Microsoft ! What were you guys doing in the 1990s ?

        I did my first project plan on Claris MacProject II in 1990 when most PCs were running DOS and the first Windows version of Microsoft Project was launched. The Mac version was brilliant (well, the manual was brilliant). That said, everything old seemed brilliant - my memories of my Atari 800 were that it had fantastic graphics - until I recently saw Star Raiders running (I could have sworn the space graphics were like going in to hyperdrive in the Star Wars film).

        1. Barry Lane 1
          Thumb Up

          Ah, that's why...

          I put a couple of quote marks " " around the "all" part. I had stuff made by Adobe and Quark and Apple and, er, whoever else was around then besides Microsoft. I have nothing against Microsoft except that I can never forgive them for their abysmal OS.

          Now, I can remember playing Syndicate and that was fab even on whatever Apple box it was that I was running at the time. Haven't seen Star Raiders for decades, but memory tells me that it was indeed like going into hyperdrive, only much slower if you had less than a couple of MB of RAM.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            3 Yorkshiremen

            MB. Megabytes ! You were lucky. I only had 48 KB and the ROM took up about 8K of that. Kids today, don't know how luck they are, Gigabytes and all.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Apple cosying up to MS - WTF?

    My jesus phone is coming up for renewal. If Apple does this then its bye-bye apple. I refuse to use anything coming out of Microsoft's backside.

    I moved from mostly an MS environment to 70% Apple/30% Linux. Now it will be 100% Linux even though personally, I think that the Android UI sucks from an ease of use point of view.

    TUX rides the iceberg to the rescue

    1. Gulfie

      Search engine...

      Only the default! Apple would default the search engine to Bing. At the moment my iPhone offers Google and Yahoo as search options. The real question is, if Apple add Bing and make it the default, will they leave Google in the list? It'd be a more valid argument if Google disappeared as an option altogether.

  7. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    An interesting idea:

    Warning to pedants: the following is really, really simplified. I am relying on the intelligence of the average El Reg user to be able to join up the basic ideas I am laying out here and get the full picture, without having to write a summary of my ideas with 25 pages of caveats and addendums.

    Once considered impossible, is the door to a merger between Apple and Microsoft now opening? (Or at least a mid-term tactical alliance?)

    Both Apple and Microsoft have their areas of dominance. Apple pretty much runs around the consumer electronics business doing whatever it wants, and Microsoft flat out owns Business Software. (Servers, productivity, communications, etc.) Microsoft and Apple both try to produce products that play in each other's ponds. Outside of a few % of market share up or down they never really succeed in making much headway.

    Both Apple and Microsoft absolutely fall down in any area where Google holds sway. (Pretty much the entire Internet.) Google consistently falls down when trying to break into markets where Apple or Microsoft is dominant. Combined, Apple and Microsoft would sew up two of the three prongs of tech: Consumer Electronics and Business Software. This would free all the resources they each waste fighting each other and allow them to concentrate the full force of their combined intellect towards breaking Google.

    There are of course other players. Oracle holds an important stack of software and hardware. SAP’s allegiance might be important too.

    Still, I posit that we may be seeing the early days of the creation of two of the largest tech/business alliances in history: Google & Allies versus Apple/Microsoft & Allies. I doubt when the smoke clears that many (if any) smaller tech companies will exist that don’t support one side or the other. Those that do will probably only survive because they specialise in getting your data from one Alliance to the other.

    Thoughts? Comments? Flames? I’d love to hear why this will or won’t ever happen.

    1. ratfox Silver badge


      You owe me a new keyboard!

    2. Cliff

      Interesting, but somewhat unlikely

      I think the whole monopolies commission or its equivalent would see that one off pretty sharpish. Imagine how unnovative that behemoth would become. And the institutionalised gut responses of fanbois on both sides. Apple people who feel they're somehow radical and supporting the small fluffy guy would squeal, MS people would choke on using OSX, and frankly the status quo suits both quite well.

      But Mr Jobs is not a well man - aside from his seemingly increasing unhingedness, he's not physically tip-top either I gather - his time as boss dog will be limited, and that'll be when Apple and Google kiss and make up, unless MS manage to stir up enough trouble in the meantime to spannner that option.

      Or that's how I see it just now.

      1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge


        Maybe not a merger...but a Tactical Alliance is not out of the question. Microsoft and Apple have some fairly close ties already. Apple wouldn't even exist were it not for MS investment! Apple's innovation and new ideas give Microsoft something to copy. Like it or not, these two companies are already incredibly symbiotic. MS has a group of folks who port Office to apple, (something you’ll note they don’t do for any Linux distro, or for Android.)

        And nothing reinforces a business partnership like an external threat the size of Google. The enemy of my enemy may still be my enemy, but I’ll work with one of them to kill the other.

        1. Gulfie

          Nope, don't see this

          Any kind of official co-operation is likely to be stamped on heavily. The FTC even investigated the Microsoft/Yahoo search/advertising deal closely. The US government is highly unlikely to allow the two companies that dominate consumer computing to have any kind of formal alliance.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Boring :P

    Poaching employees? Calling each other names? Wake me when they start sending minigun-toting trenchcoat-wearing agents at each other. That's the sort of Apple-Google battle I want to see! Dystopian corporation-controlled future here we come.

    1. Reverend Brown

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      I, for one, welcome the dawning of our new empire.

      I hope it's televised.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ AC - Is that Syndicate?

      "Wake me when they start sending minigun-toting trenchcoat-wearing agents at each other."

      An old game called syndicate came straight to mind, was that the intention? Cool game :) Person ally I hope Google wipe the floor with apple by any means possible.

      Not a Google fan - just really hate apple and all that they stand for.

      1. Rob
        Thumb Up


        It is syndicate, that's 2 mentions in the same thread now, I still have it at home, need to find a hack now to get it working again I fancy carving up a town and it's folk with minigun equipped cyber agents.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    apple search engine....

    apple can easily work on its own search engine and they're quite capable of making something substantial.

    Nokia and its mighty former position has never slowed apple scoring point and even changing the game in the mobile industry. so the argument that google would slow it has yet to show a sign of truth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      I either for a new search engine launch or a strategic tie in. As Jobs stated at his Global town hall "we stayed out of search".

      There is a revenue opportunity begging that the Apple mark and consumer resonance will buy into it very quickly.

      It just depends on how they go about the problem - build from new, aquire, strategic alliance with heavy input on user experience.

      One thing is for sure; we won't know anything until they are ready to explain it to us.

      1. fandom

        Not so fast

        Creating a search engine is just the start, look at all the online servives Google has, Apple would have to replicate: search itself, news, finance data, maps, street view, webmail, online office apps, ....

        It is not very likely that a user would use some Google services and yet go to Apple for search, not even if Apple's search was way better than Google's.

        For years, Google have been very busy creating moats around their search business and besides, unlike Microsoft, they are considered to be almost as cool as Apple.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Experienced Chinese for Novel and Noble Bespookery.

    A search engine is an innocuous and ambiguous and ubiquitous front for transparent spying, as it provides all the future necessary consumer/client information needed for a Remote Third Party ..... NSAGoogle/CIABing/PRCBaidu ...... to Pharm and Phorm and with Advanced Analytical Algorithms is it also possible to Develop a Pretty Accurate Personal Profile of a Person of Interest/Targetted Asset, although the SMARTer IDEntity [IntelAIgently Designed Entity], the Phished, will be Easily Able to Groom Perception in Order to Present whatever Picture they may wish to Project with IT and Media Control, the Phormed. ...... for the Infinite Dynamism and Immaculate Stealth of Flexible Being in a Perfect FooManchurian.

    Foo ...... .... being the Natural Partner in Quantum Control Systems where Core Bits of Information .... "A qubit has some similarities to a classical bit, but is overall very different. Like a bit, a qubit can have two possible values—normally a 0 or a 1. The difference is that whereas a bit must be either 0 or 1, a qubit can be 0, 1, or a superposition of both." .... react and generate Intellectual Property Energy and Powerful Remote Space Control for Orders in CHAOS/Clients in Executive Administrative Positions/Mobs and Gangs/Businesses and Virtual Adventures in Alternate Reality Great Game Plays.

    Please note that CyberIntelAIgent Security Operating Systems can Seriously Enhance and Damage Wealth and are not for the Faint Hearted and Lily Livered ....... but QuITe an Ideal Vehicle for the Lucky Maverick Punter Gambling to Win Win and Lose for the House.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      You know

      the joke wore off quite a while a go.

      You need to get out more...

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Do you know ....

        "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --- Mahatma Gandhi

        Your post is just so typical of the heroic Anonymous Coward, AC, who just cannot Think of the Future because they are stuck in the Past and are as a Prisoner to the Present System.

        Ps... It wasn't a joke and you need to think more, for you are easily fooled to be a pathetic pawn of a human being rather than anything better as a Smarter Virtual Machine.

        "You need to get out more..." ...... Thanks for the advice. It has been inputted for processing.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Not a great fan of his work but it is becoming more realistic ......

        You might like to have a read at the crazy jokes here too, AC ....... ...... just to prepare yourself for the punch lines.

        And my advice to everyone and anyone ...... don't try anything smart in anything cyber, unless you absolutely definitely know where it is going to lead you, for there is always a trail to follow/reverse engineer with your dabs on IT.

        Free Sound Advice on El Reg ...... What more could you possibly need that wasn't a selfish want?

  11. Paddy


    But then that is what a rumour is.

    More entertainment or news please, cos this ain't it!

  12. TeeCee Gold badge

    Ego battle?

    If this is an ego battle then Eric's taking a knife to a nuke fight.

    Steve's ego is visible on Google Earth. When zoomed out.

  13. lukewarmdog


    As with Pre, a simple update that stopped your Google flavoured device accessing your Microsoft based PC or Mac would indicate this was a real war.

    Not only moving Bing in but actively blocking Google by default in Safari and IE would make this a real war.

    Cosying up to China would make this a real war.

    Until then it's just posturing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Attention! Your attention, please!

    -Announcement from Apple Ministry of Truth-

    'Apple has always been at war with Google. Since the beginning of history, the war has continued without a break, always the same war. All outer party members are instructed to adjust their reality distortion fields accordingly.'

    -That is the end of the announcement.-




  15. P. Lee Silver badge

    No such thing as bad publicity

    Apart from phones (where Google isn't anywhere close to being in Apple's commercial league) where would these two come into conflict?

    Its all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    I'm not entirely sure why google is going after the mobile phone market, except to try what Apple's doing and pries the market segment away from MS. There's no spare screen space for ads on a small device. To make it work, they'll have to produce an interface which does at least as much as the basic iphone. Good addressbook/maps/gps integration, a pleasant interface, good sync'ing and an easy and consistent way of finding and purchasing apps and data. Personally I'd rather like FLAC playback too since I don't need to carry massive amounts of music and I don't want to convert files on every sync.

    Perhaps Google could produce a 3g hardware module for the ipod touch and wifi ipad. Or perhaps a superslim bluetooth-controlled 2g/3g phone with no screen or keyboard (or perhaps just a monochrome 1 line display and numeric keypad) and an ipod touch app for a frontend. That would *really* annoy Apple! ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Hate at First Sight

    "I'm...told through many sources," Goldman says in a CNBC video on Monday, "...that Steve Jobs simply hates Eric Schmidt."

    Understandable. I cannot even begin to count the number of people that I dislike for completely irrational reasons. Sometimes you just meet people and you instantly hate/dislike them. If there's "love at first sight" then certainly there must be hate at first sight. For example, one look at Larry Ellison and I instantly couldn't stand him.

  17. Colin Barfoot

    boardroom antics

    I'd like to think that this started with something trivial...

    JOBSY: Schmidt, are you wearing that Mickey Mouse T-shirt again?

    SCHMIDT: Yes, Steven. Have you got a problem with that?

    JOBSY: Dammit it, yes. I hate that mouse. Mom forced me wear Micky Mouse underpants at school....I've never recovered from the taunts. Take it off.

    SCHMIDT: Come again?

    JOBSY: Remove your T-shirt, Steven, else Micky will be talking my James Bond-style iPhone with retractable blade.

    SCHMIDT: One step closer, Steven.

    Scuffle ensues.

    JOBSY: Oof. Right in the iPod.

    SCHMIDT: Ow, the man who messes with my search technology dances with death.


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