Apple vs Google (totally different businesses)

Wether you prefer Google, Apple, both or neither is not the point of this discussion. I respect your choice and this post will not change your opinion, which is not my goal. I personally lean more towards Apple, but happily use my Nexus 7 and Gmail.

One thing I see in a lot of diiscussions and in most flame wars is that people argue their side with the notion that Apple and Google are similar companies with the same goals, same sources of revenue and are competing in the same space. Yes, there is no doubt that Apple and Google compete with each other in several spaces in the tech industry but that is the only similarity between Google and Apple.

Let's go through some very distinct differences between the two companies:

  1. Apple makes hardware, Google does not (for the most part)
  2. Apple makes money on their hardware and software, Google does not (for the most part)
  3. Apple does not make money by having more people use their services. (Example: More iCloud users does not mean more money for Apple. More Gmail users means more emails Google is able to scan and make more money off of the data).
  4. Google sells ads, Apple does not (for the most part).

So what is the goal of Google and Apple? Google wants more users to use their services so they can scan that data and make (more) money on that data. Apple wants to keep selling their hardware/software by trying to make a positive experience for their customers every time a customer buys one of their products (of course failing with Mobileme, Maps and Time Capsule (See Josh Topolsky's frustrations with it!) etc.)

So this is what gets me every time there is a friendly discussion or flame war and an argument is made that boils down to this "Hey Apple, you need to do exactly what Google does and "not be evil"". Every time someone says that they fail to understand that Apple and Google are totally different businesses. If Apple would do exactly what Google does then Apple will fail as a business.

People hate the fact that Apple is not open and I understand where people come from when they say that. But at the same time if Apple wants to make a protocol that only works on Apple products which in turn creates a "better" (not always true) experience for the user with an Apple product compared to a user with a non-Apple product then why would Apple make it so that everybody can use that protocol? (For example: Facetime and iMessage).

Apple has nothing to gain when everybody on non-Apple devices use their services. Google has everything to gain when everybody uses their services regardless the device or platform.

People, for example, believe that Apple should not sue anybody because Google does not sue anyone. Again, Google has nothing to gain by suing for example Apple because that will potentially block people from using their services which goes totally against their business.

I am totally fine with someone believing that Apple is evil. I understand if you only use free and open source software and that you think Apple is the worst company in the world. I respect your opinion. But please stop using arguments that only work if Apple and Google have similar business models. Apple and Google are two completely different businesses and just because they happen to compete with each other in a particular space does not mean we can compare and argue about the two companies as if they were two different grocery stores.