First Click: It's time for Microsoft and Google to be friends

February 2nd, 2016

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Microsoft and Google love to hate each other. Whether it’s Gmail man, a battle over YouTube apps, or curiously timed product changes, the two companies have locked horns on multiple occasions in the past few years.

Now Microsoft’s approach to cross-platform apps and services is bringing Outlook and Office to Android. This presents opportunities for friction with Google, or the ability for both companies to form a partnership. Fortunately, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seems less concerned with campaigns like Scroogled, and more interested in partnerships with companies like Apple, Dropbox, and Salesforce. It sounds unlikely, but could Microsoft and Google be forming a new friendship as well?

Microsoft and Google compete in a number of areas, including search, mobile / desktop operating systems, productivity apps and services, and webmail. While each company has a slightly different approach to their products, the overall goal is to get more and more people using services like Google search, Outlook, Office, or Google Apps. Microsoft’s and Google’s services often compliment each other. Microsoft Office is the application suite you use when Google’s aren’t powerful enough, and Google’s search engine and mapping software is unrivaled. There are plenty of opportunities for various partnerships, and a huge set of mutual customers that would welcome the companies burying their hatchets. Something that seems to be happening.

Microsoft has been refocusing its businesses recently, and a lot of the moves seem to remove friction with Google. Microsoft pulled out of mapping in June, sold its ad business to AOL, and has recently put its project to migrate Android apps to Windows on hold. Last month, Microsoft also killed its funding for the FairSearch group that had been lobbying in Europe for antitrust cases against Google. Combined with Microsoft’s various new partnerships with Android makers to bundle Office apps and its patent deal with Google, there’s a lot of change in strategy and business with regard to Google happening in Redmond.

All of these changes individually don’t point to a more reasonable Microsoft, but combined they certainly pave the way for Microsoft to finally form some type of partnership with Google. Apple has essentially admitted that Office rules for productivity, could Google do the same? Even simply delivering a YouTube app for Windows 10 would be a good sign. Microsoft and Google leadership have both changed in recent years, and the new CEOs have the ability to put the past behind them. It’s certainly time for Microsoft and Google to finally be friends.


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