Aren’t Apple and Google Friends Anymore?

by Chris Howard Aug 05, 2009

This week saw a couple of interesting announcements that might allude to Google and Apple not being such buddies anymore.

First off was Apple rejecting the Google iPhone Voice application, which TechCrunch reported on and were far from happy, saying:

Now comes even worse news: we’ve learned that Apple has blocked Google’s official Google Voice application itself from the App Store. In other words, Google Voice — one of the best things to happen to telephony services in a very long time — will have no presence at all on the App Store. If there’s ever been a time to be furious with Apple, now is it.

Although, they do go on to lay the blame at AT&T's feet:

Google Voice scares the carriers. It allows users to send free SMS messages and get cheap long-distance over Google Voice’s lines. It also makes it trivial to switch to a new phone service, because everyone calls the Google Voice number anyway.

It certainly seems that AT&T has a lot more control over Apple in its iPhone deal than Apple would like, or would like us to think. That control has probably irritated Google somewhat. Sure it has its own cellular platform, but it is multi-platform friendly. That's what its whole culture is about, open to everyone. Unlike Apple which is much more closed.

Google would have really liked to spread its Voice app wings into the iPhone space.

Then (although not as a hissy-fit reaction) Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, resigned from the Apple board, due to conflicts of interest. Apple's press release read:

Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”

So it was one of those "mutual" agreements. That is, a polite way of giving someone the boot.

Interestingly, Apple's mentioning of Chrome OS as one of the catalysts of this parting of ways tells us a little of how seriously Apple rates the threat of an OS from Google.

Are Google and Apple still friends? Yes, but not like they used to be. Previously the relationship was one of unity, fighting the common enemy, Microsoft. Now, however, with each well and truly established and seeking to expand into the same territory that Microsoft is conceding ground in, the relationship has become uneasy.

Will they ever be friends again? No, those days are past. But it does make you wonder how amicable - or not - the split will become as each aggressively pursues its ends.


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