Would the world be a better place if Apple and Google were friends?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
With the introduction of the original Apple iPhone back in 2007 came an open invitation for competition to develop. When you have a product as popular, well-received and revolutionary as the iPhone, you can bet that somebody, somewhere is going to try and keep up with the Joneses and attempt to rake in some of that sweet cash that you can bet is gonna start flowin' in from all angles. And just as suspected, a cash flow did happen, as did a powerful contender that showed some promise of being viable competition. If you haven't already guessed, that contender was and is Google's Android.
In the beginning, for many the notion was laughable. Android was noticeably more rough around the edges than iOS was for a long time. It didn't look as clean, it didn't operate as smoothly, and it had a lot of bugs to be worked out. However, there were things that made Android more appealing to certain people over iOS, and that was the fact that Android was built as an open-sourced mobile operating system, while iOS wasn't. There was a lot more flexibility within Android's operating system both for consumer and developers alike, whether it was customization or just getting the green light to create applications. But just as that could be seen as a good thing, it also helped iOS out in a way. With iOS having higher standards about the quality of applications that could appear on the market, and with limited customization options it seemed that iOS was superior at producing a more "solid" OS than that of Android. It really depended on what the user preferred in a phone. Both popular mobile operating systems, both had several differences.
But as most competitive businesses get when they escalate to a level as great as Android and iOS have, it's inevitable that debates and business practices can turn hostile in order to ensure that the rivalry stays competitive. In fact, just yesterday I mentioned a series of lawsuits already in progress that involve both Apple and Google in the courtroom. But just as this patent war begins, perhaps as a means of a calm before the storm, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gives his two cents about how things might have been if he was still at Apple during an interview with BBC.
"I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future."
I'm sure the thought has crossed all of our minds at one point: What if? What if these two rival companies just joined into one? It's interesting, because at one point I was certain that Google and Apple joining forces would be the greatest thing to ever happen. The two companies are making such great efforts in this industry that you would think putting the two together would only make things better. But then I started a little outside of the Hello Kitty namby pamby land that resides in my head, and realized that the only thing worse than having the duopoly that we have today is to have one big monopoly that probably won't have half the motivation to make anything that innovative. Sometimes, a little friendly competition is needed in order to keep things going, and to make things interesting.
I honestly think both companies are able to hold their own, for the most part, rather well. Apple might be slipping recently, but they're not so far down the hole that they can't pick themselves back up. I do still have hope for them, but I don't think that they need to combine with Google in order to make that happen. Could great things happen if the two combined? Most definitely, I could certainly see some crazy cool products come from the two tech giants. But it all falls back on if people don't like it, their only viable option at the present moment would be to turn to Windows Phone 8 - which a lot of people already aren't interested in.
I think if one company started slipping so far down the hole that they were inevitably going to follow the same path as BlackBerry that I would perhaps entertain the idea a little more in depth. I don't like wasted technology, which is why I hope whoever acquires BlackBerry puts it to good use. But I digress. When it comes to Apple and Google becoming one, as nice and as marshmallowy good as that sounds, I don't think that it is something I would want at this current point in time. Perhaps it's an idea worth entertaining once one company or the other is clearly in a hole they can't dig themselves out of, but that's just my thoughts. I'd just be happy if they were a little less hostile about certain things.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this idea? Do you think that the two companies would be better off as friends than enemies? Would you be interested in an iOS/Android hybrid device? What features of each platform would you like to see in a device if such a merger were to ever happen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!