Politics makes strange bedfellows, and so does business apparently. In the wake of Google's frontal attack on Apple at I/O recently, and this week's reports that Google was dropping Windows as an OS choice throughout its company, it seems that Apple could be running into the arms of Microsoft for solace.
There is a complicated dance that is constantly going on among the big technology players, but it's possible Google's actions are encouraging Apple to align with Microsoft, a move that might not make the most sense for a company that depends on ad sales for the majority of its income.
Google Fires a Big One
At Google I/O a couple of weeks ago, Google made it clear it wanted a piece of Apple's action, whether it was their new TV partnerships, their Android update or the very public display of affection for Adobe. There was little doubt that Google wanted to stick it to Apple. That's all well and good I suppose. Competition is healthy and often results in pushing the various platforms forward, but as I wrote in Google Bloodies Apple on the Technology Playground, it might not have been the smartest move in a strategic sense.
Then this week we hear, Google wants to expunge Windows from its enterprise, going so far as to blame Windows for its recent security issues in China (as I wrote about in Google Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place in China), but going after Microsoft is really no smarter than going after Apple and it could result in them in becoming allies against Google, an outcome Google could regret in the long run.
Google's whole business focus is selling ads. That means the more platforms on which it appears the better--whether that's Android, Blackberry, Windows or iPhone. For them, it's all about eyeballs and it really shouldn't matter whether the source is one of their own or their competitors. That's precisely why Google should be thinking twice about slapping Apple and Microsoft around.
Apple Cozies Up to Microsoft
As a matter of fact, recent reports suggest that Google's moves could be helping encourage a more strategic relationship between Apple and Microsoft. Let's face it, these two companies are never going to be best buddies, but they could be friends with benefits, no matter how they feel about each other. Maybe Apple will decide to make Bing the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad, which could hurt Google--well, at least it might sting a little bit.
Google Could Be the Biggest Loser
It's hard to say how all this will play out. These Apple-Microsoft discussions around Bing on the iPhone have been ongoing for some time. In fact, you can get Bing on the iPhone today if you want it, so maybe it's just talk and nothing more. But there are also rumors that Microsoft and Apple just might have some kind of announcement at the WWDC next week, so who knows.
If that happens, Google might be wondering if it made the right choices when it chose to attack its two fellow tech giants. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but a company that depends on selling ads shouldn't be alienating key players, and they may regret the day they went after these guys instead of holding them close where they could keep an eye on them.