Google, Apple set for Death Match

Like a Godzilla movie with award-winning special effects, this battle will open up new opportunities for players in the communications market deep into the decade.

Apple recently announced it has had over three billion applications downloaded on the iPhone and iPod Touch and has further purchased mobile advertising company Quattro Wireless for $300 bmillion. If you have followed Apple, you know this move is not surprising. Last November in fact I wrote about how Google is scaring Apple to death as evidenced by Apple filing a patent in the advertising space and reportedly bidding for Admob.

It is now official; Apple sees advertising as a necessary market to play in if it wants to compete with Google.

But why should Apple worry about Google – until recently the companies were united in their fear and loathing of Microsoft.

Things started to change when both Apple and Google began to compete in the browser market and more recently phones via the iPhone and Open Handset Alliance/Android.

To date, Android has found its way onto a slew of devices from ebook readers to yes, phones.

And now Google has its own unlocked phone dubbed the Nexus One which everyone will compare to the iPhone whether the comparison is warranted or not. By the way, my informal research shows the Android-based Motorola Droid – the closest relative to the new Google phone impresses many Blackberry and even iPhone users. Some developers I spoke with like it a lot more than the iPhone but still the ease of use and app library size award definitely goes to Apple and currently apps on the iPhone outpace Android by a ten-to-one ratio at 100,000 and counting.

So Google did what any smart company does when it is outgunned in head-to-head battle, it looks for other areas of weakness to attack. One area is through Google-written applications like turn-by-turn GPS. In addition, this new consumer electronics wonder is the first to support a PC-like Google Earth experience. An obvious area of potential for this gadget is of course enhanced voice services. And this is where Google Voice come in. The addictive application allows users to keep a single number for life and leverage find-me, follow-me and cloud-based voicemail transcription. One prominent blogger, Michael Arrington even went public with his switch from the iPhone to another device because of this Google service.

Yesterday, I mentioned how Apple’s closed systems are cause for alarm – this walled-garden approach to products also describes how the company deals with the media; they are quiet until they launch. The must-have product-producing wizards of Cupertino don’t tell you too much if anything about their future plans and perhaps this contributes to the Apple mystique which is synonymous with the black mock turtlenecks adorning Steve Jobs when he makes a public appearance.

And this is why I am extra happy to have access to Craig Walker, Group Product Manager, Real Time Communications Group of Google – the man who started the company Grand Central which was purchased by Google and turned into Google Voice. Oh and by the way, you have access to him as well. You see, he is keynoting at ITEXPO in just two weeks in Miami. Specifically Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 3:30 pm.

At the start of this article I discussed a battle between two monsters and that is just what is happening. As these behemoths thrash, they will leave room for developers and integrators to put pieces together when building new solutions. For example, how will unified communications and collaboration work seamlessly with Android devices and iPhones? What about FMC? Imagine all the work the builders had to do in Japan after a Godzilla fight. Think about the multibillion yen contracts which were awarded. Now equate this to communications. Who will have the best-selling apps on these platforms? Whose solutions will integrate best? Which companies may or may not be endorsed by these companies?

As big as Godzilla was, he needed allies in the Japanese government and its citizens (well at least those that didn’t get inadvertently squashed). The competing monster too had allies somewhere deep in outer space – more on that in some future article perhaps.

Apple and Google too need allies… Perhaps you or your company can you be one of them.

There are unlimited questions and opportunities, yet a single chance to come and learn from Craig at ITEXPO. You basically can’t miss it and we can’t wait to see you there.

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