It's Not You, It's Me: 10 Reasons Behind The Apple-Google Breakup12:00 PM EST Thu. Aug. 09, 2012
Five years ago, Apple and Google played nice. They were both iconic tech companies, paving the way in their respective markets, with Google CEO Eric Schmidt even having his own seat on Apple's board. When the iPhone came out in 2007, Google Maps, Search and YouTube were included as native apps. The two seemed like an unbeatable team.
But, as Google took strides of its own in the mobile market, its relationship with Apple grew shaky, eventually escalating into a full-fledged rivalry and a neck-and-neck race toward smartphone dominance.
From the launch of Android Market to the release of Steve Jobs' biography, here are 10 reasons why Google and Apple are finally calling it quits.
In the early to mid-2000s, Google was known almost exclusively as a search engine giant. With its simplistic user interface embraced by Web surfers around the world, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company rapidly stole market share from rivals Yahoo and AOL.
But, in November 2007, Google thought outside its search engine box and decided to try its luck in the software space, launching Android, its homegrown mobile OS for smartphones. It was a move that would eventually propel Google to the top spot in the mobile OS market. It was also a move that pitted it directly against its then-partner Apple.
Today, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android collectively account for 83 percent of the smartphone market, IDC reported in May. Android is the overall winner, though, holding 59 percent.
If Google launching Android wasn’t enough to position it as a full-blown rival to Apple, its launch of its own mobile app store probably was.
Arm in arm with its introduction of the T-Mobile G1, the first-ever Android-powered phone, Google unveiled in October 2008 the Android Market, an online storefront through which users could purchase and download applications for use on Android devices. Developers that built apps for the market were awarded a 70 percent slice of sales, while users benefited from the convenience of having a one-stop shop for purchasing apps.
But, Android Marketplace, like Android itself, was a clear-cut rival to Apple and its entire iOS ecosystem. Apple rolled out the App Store, its own online app shop for the iPhone, in June 2008, about four months before the arrival of Android Market and alongside the launch of the iPhone 3G.
As the Android-iOS rivalry continued to heat up, Apple announced in August 2009 that Google CEO Eric Schmidt (left) was resigning from Apple's Board of Directors. Schmidt had been on the board for three years.
In Steve Jobs’ statement announcing Schmidt’s departure, he made reference to Android, saying the new OS presented "conflicts of interest" for Schmidt as a member of Apple’s board.
"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," Jobs said in the statement. "Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board."
The smartphone market isn’t the only one in which Google and Apple have faced off. The two eventually became rivals in the mobile advertising space as well, starting with Google’s November 2009 acquisition of mobile ad vendor AdMob. The acquisition, Google said at the time, would help it more effectively develop tools for creating and analyzing new mobile ads formats.
Apple, however, almost immediately struck back, announcing its own acquisition of mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless just two months later in February 2009.
Google issued a statement in response to Apple’s acquisition, saying that the move was simply "further proof that the mobile advertising space continues to be competitive."
In the course of four years, an Apple-Google showdown had developed in both the mobile software and advertising markets. But, Google also started to take aim at its rival in the hardware space, with the launch of its Nexus One smartphone in January 2010.
While Taiwanese handset maker HTC manufactured the new Android-based phone, the Nexus One still bore the Google brand, and it represented yet another market in which the internet giant would go head-to-head with Apple.
Google further grew its smartphone and hardware offerings in May 2012, through its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. With a full portfolio of mobile devices under its belt, Google started churning out smartphones like the Motorola Droid Razr (left), which competes directly with the iPhone.
In October 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, equipped with its new dual-core A5 processor, a revamped camera and a voice-activated assistant named Siri.
Users quickly fell in love with that third feature, relying on Siri to tell them the weather, the latest news or where the closest grocery store was -- all without lifting a finger. But, Siri’s success spelled bad news for Google, as it meant fewer and fewer iPhone users needed to conduct online searches to find what they needed.
Siri's debut dealt an especially heavy blow to Google, EMC’s analysts recently told the Wall Street Journal, because the majority of Google’s mobile search ad revenue comes directly from iPhone searches. Google, however, is reportedly readying a voice-activated assistant of its own for later this year.
Walter Isaacson released his biography of Steve Jobs in October 2011, just a few weeks after the late Apple CEO passed away. It provided a glimpse into Jobs’ early days a student, his travels to India and his time at the helm of Apple. It also revealed his not-so-nice thoughts on Google, literally putting in writing the growing tension between the Android and iOS camps.
Jobs, in his interviews with Isaacson, said Android was a rip-off of the iPhone and swore passionately to make that point clear in court. His admission made the Apple-Google breakup seem more real -- and more ugly -- than ever.
"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs told Isaacson. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
When the iPhone first launched in 2007, it came pre-loaded with Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube, Google’s popular video streaming app.
But, in June 2012, Apple revealed that iOS 6, its next-generation operating system for the iPhone and iPad, will be the first ever to not deliver a native app for Google Maps. While Apple is rolling out its own replacement map app, iOS 6 will mark the first time in five years that iPhone users aren’t automatically fed directional data from Google.
Apple may have planned on removing Google Maps as early as 2009, when it quietly acquired mapping company Placebase in July.
To further draw a line between its upcoming iOS 6 and Google’s software ecosystem, Apple revealed in August that future iPhones would launch without the embedded YouTube app. According to Apple, its decision to remove native YouTube access was not a result of hard feelings but of its licensing agreement with Google coming to an end.
"Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store," an Apple spokesperson told The Verge.
Like the Google Maps app, YouTube has shipped natively on the iPhone since its launch in 2007.
Apple and Samsung are in the midst of a global patent war in which each is accusing the other of having infringed on its designs for mobile devices. Apple, in its bullish attempt to ban sales of many of Samsung’s smartphones and tablets worldwide, has already won preliminary injunctions against the Korean tech giant's Galaxy Tab 10.1 (left) in the U.S.
Should Apple claim a victory in the U.S. trial that kicked off this month, that ban could be permanent. And, while most of the negative effects will be felt by Samsung, Google stands to take a blow as well. Samsung is one of Google’s biggest hardware partners, with the bulk of its Galaxy smartphone and tablet offerings running on Android.
In a way, then, Google is now finding itself standing in the crossfire of Apple's aim at Samsung.