A new report this morning claims Apple is taking steps to separate its mobile operating system from features offered by Google parent Alphabet, making advances around maps, search and advertising that have set the tech giants on a collision course. The two Silicon Valley giants have been rivals in the smartphone market since Google bought and popularized the Android operating system in the 2000s.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called Android “a stolen product” that mimicked Apple’s iOS mobile software, then declared “thermonuclear war” on Google, removing the search firm’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple’s board in 2009.
The Financial Times report further noted that “Although the rivalry has been quieter since, two former Apple engineers said the iPhone maker has had a ‘war’ against Google ever since. One of those people said Apple is still involved in a “silent war” against its archrival, it does so by developing features that could allow the iPhone maker to further differentiate its products from services offered by Google.
The first front of this battle is mapping, which started in 2012 when Apple released Maps, displacing its Google rival as a pre-downloaded app. Cory Munchbach, CEO of BlueConic: “Apple is very well positioned to decouple from Google more and more, largely under the guise of consumer privacy.”
The other front in the fight is search. While Apple rarely discusses products in development, the company has long been working on a feature known internally as “Apple Search,” a tool that facilitates “billions of searches” a day, according to employees on the project. Apple’s search team dates back to at least 2013, when it bought Topsy Labs, a start-up that had indexed Twitter to enable searches and analytics.
Displacing Google on the iPhone and assuring users that their web queries won’t leak to third-party data brokers would fit well with Apple’s privacy-focused software changes and marketing campaign — while potentially delivering a huge hit to Google’s business.”
For more on this interesting story, read the full Financial Times report from Patrick McGee.