Google vs. Microsoft vs. Apple

  • Posted: 29 October 2009 11:24 AM

    Google’s moves in the last 24 hours provides fresh evidence of its looming competitive threat not just to Microsoft but also to Apple.  Not only did Google launch a major mobile application, navigation, on Android devices only (with the iPhone reportedly coming “later”), but it also launched a music search service with partners that include Apple competitors like Rhapsody, and with iTunes only indirectly involved through iLike.  This won’t “kill” iTunes, but it will increase the threat to iTunes domination.

    And sometime next year, the biggest volley is coming with its Chrome OS that will complete Google’s attempt to direct the entire computer experience to the cloud.  And with Android, Google can hedge that bet by having a growing number of OEMs producing Android phones, tablets and netbooks that don’t rely exclusively on the cloud. 

    The future was much less uncertain when it was just Apple vs. Microsoft.  Although Microsoft has a huge lead, all the “mo” was with Apple, and I could not have been more confident that Apple market share on all types of devices would grow versus Microsoft over time.

    But now it is shaping up as a three way contest for OS supremacy between Google, Microsoft and Apple.  That’s a much harder call.  There are huge differences between each approach.  Unlike Microsoft, Google is not weighed down by a legacy system.  It is a system with a future, and it is a brand with high customer appeal. 

    This new uncertainty doesn’t change my opinion on AAPL stock.  AAPL remains ridiculously undervalued.  Apple will have a stupendous Q1, Verizon nothwithstanding, and Apple should have a great 2010, firing on all cylinders.  Google will do much more damage to Microsoft, RIM and Palm.  If, in a few years, Microsoft’s share of computer devices is well below the 90% it is now, that potentially opens up more headroom for Apple to grow and thrive, both in the business and consumer markets.  So I’m more bullish than ever about the next 2-3 years.

    And maybe in the world of consumer electronics, looking beyond 3 years is always foolish, but until recently, I saw Apple as a humongous winner in the decade ahead.  Now the longer term looks like more of a horse race.  May the best innovator win.

         
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    Posted: 29 October 2009 01:27 PM #1

    Personally I think the cloud is only going to be a consumer thing. Businesses will only trust the cloud they control. This means that MS may just become entrenched as a Corporate environment, while Google takes the low end Consumer market and Apple the high end.

    IMO as a not very accurate soothsayer anyway

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  • Posted: 29 October 2009 02:28 PM #2

    I seriously doubt corporations will trust the cloud and educational institutions will avoid it like the plague. Too many holes to allow federally protected information out of the closed environment. Cloudbursts happen!

         
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    Posted: 29 October 2009 02:49 PM #3

    I think you’re right. Cloud computing for consumers only.

    Thanks to the Cloud I didn’t need to upgrade photoshop when I switched to Intel Macs because of this handy site.

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  • Posted: 29 October 2009 06:49 PM #4

    Cloud computing will not only be limited to consumer computing, but a small portion at that. People ensconced in large metro areas will be good targets, but people that move around, live in more rural areas with less access to high speed internet, people who simply do not like being online all the time, people that want to be able to take their stuff where ever/when ever without worrying about connection reliability or speed (IOW, probably a majority of consumer computer users) are going to want their OS and applications, permanently installed on the data storage device of their computers.  Netbooks, for all their (current) popularity are, IMO, going to find themselves in a niche for users who want extreme portability and are willing to trade that for functionality. But when it comes to creating content, a full function computer - even if it is in the form of one of the smaller laptops - is going to be where people turn.

    Even if (when?) Apple comes out with their own (new, innovative, blow-the-others-out-of-the-water, take-it-to-the-next-level) version of the netbook/tablet, there will still be plenty of market for all their other computing hardware, from the white MacBook through the 17” MacBook Pro; from the Mac Mini to the 8 core Mac Pro, Mac X Servers, etc.

    And Microsoft will continue to have big industry supplying their thousands of tiny work cubicles to buy their products.

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    Posted: 29 October 2009 07:13 PM #5

    Cloud computing is like renting videos online.  Not enough selection, too slow to download, not enough people have broadband to really use it, and you are screwed if the internet is down.

         
  • Posted: 02 November 2009 02:53 PM #6

    In my opinion “the cloud” is something of a misnomer. It implies that our data is just floating around in the ether. It evokes thoughts of things like BitTorrent and distributed computing.

    But cloud computing is just a buzzword for data stored on a remote server. Add a AJAX-ehanced interface and push notifications, and *boom*, everything from email to blogging becomes “cloud computing.”

    Businesses are already using “cloud computing,” but they’ll continue to host it on a cloud that is within their control rather than sending it to a third party as consumers do.