Nexus One vs. iPhone

Apple vs. Google

This post is not a product comparison between the Apple iPhone and Google’s answer, the Nexus One; perhaps I will do that in a future post. Instead, I want to focus on the business battle that is ensuing between the two tech giants. When Apple introduced the iPhone a few short years ago, Google was one of the companies that were part of the presentation, along side Apple CEO Steve Jobs. At the time Google had nothing but praise for the revolutionary smart phone and developed the Maps application, as well as, the online search, among other features for it.

That probably marked the height of the friendly business relationship between the two companies. Since then, Google decided to produce their own open platform and a phone to compete directly with Google. In fact, on Tuesday they announced the Nexus One smart phone has been upgraded to operate on the same network as the iPhone which gives it 3G speeds (something crucial for anything trying to reach the iPhone’s abilities).

Although the sales of the Google Nexus One are likely not more than a drop in the bucket compared to the Apple iPhone’s sales, Apple is clearly not happy about the fact that Google’s phone uses a touch screen display and looks somewhat like the iPhone. Therefore, Apple recently launched several lawsuits against the manufacturer of the Nexus One phones, HTC. They are claiming that HTC (and really, Google) have infringed on more than one of Apple’s patents regarding the touch screen and other technologies related to their phones.

I find this whole ‘beef’ between Google and Apple very entertaining actually. Since I do not own shares of either of these two companies at the moment, I don’t really see how anything that happens in this battle will affect me in any way, so I can just enjoy it for the real life, multi billion dollar soap opera that it is. I haven’t really picked a favorite between the two yet, even though I own an iPhone because I want to see who will do what next before I choose a side. For now, it is like a chess match or basketball game where you are just waiting to see what the next move will be.

In terms of product success, I find it very hard to believe that Google will come close, let alone beat Apple because the iPhone is so far ahead of it and has the advantage of leader as opposed to the follower. That means that Apple is more likely to come out with the next big innovation in the product and Google will have to play catch up the whole time, just like they did with the Nexus One’s network speeds. Google has a chance in the longer term by opening up the platform for anyone and not have a strictly controlled system like Apple has. Google also has tons of cash which is always a good weapon to have on your side.

The next weeks and months are sure to hold another move or two by each side in this unfolding battle and if something transpires that is truly interesting in some way, I will likely follow up with an article on it.