Monday, May 24, 2010

Apple vs. Google: I'm caught in the crossfire

John Gruber is a fan of the Apple-Google war ...
Daring Fireball: Post-I/O Thoughts
... It’s exciting, vicious, fun to watch, and ultimately should prove to be excellent news for consumers. Competition drives innovation and innovation raises the bar for everyone. And the bar, for smartphones, is rising quickly.

Like any great rivalry, there are striking differences between the two competitors. Apple and Google are jostling to shift the comparison between the two platforms to their very different strengths. Apple’s strengths: user experience, design, consistency. Google’s strengths: the cloud, variety, permissiveness..
Me? Not so much.

I have made two big vendor bets for my family and me in the past decade. Yes, Google and Apple. Google made me smarter, Apple provided us a relatively hassle free personal computing solution. When I bought my 3G iPhone I experienced the perfect union of the technology giants of 2007.

Then it all came apart. The Apple-Google war sucks. There's nothing fun about it for me.

I have large Apple investments, but if I were single I'd go with Google, drop the iPhone, and run Chrome on my Macs. Yes, I love the elegance of the iPhone, but Google delivers the services I really need for my mobile life - and to be personally productive. Google is sometimes a bit evil, but Apple is the Singapore of computing. Efficient, but ultimately tyrannical. Bereft of Google, Apple is now running with Facebook. Talk about embracing the Dark Side of the Force.

I'm not single though. I have three children, one dog, and today's my 24th wedding anniversary. Google does not get families, Google does not, not, not get children. (I think the Gmail EULA has a teen or young adult age cutoff.) I could live with the rough edges of the gPhone (though my dental grinding would be expensive), but my family could not.

There's no way I'm supporting two platforms. Apple's FairPlay DRM allows up to five users per app or product -- we're a family of five. That's a big advantage for Apple.

So I can't leave Apple. On the other hand, I can't live without Google and Apple's boy-toy Facebook is a bizarro clone of 1990s Microsoft.

So I get hit from both sides. Each time I use Google's crummy, miserable, slow, balky HTML 5 web 2.0 Google Voice app I take a bullet. (Gruber sings the praise of iPhone web apps. I bet he doesn't use Google Voice on the iPhone.)

I don't have a solution. Anyone wanna find a bar with bad country music and drink bad whiskey?


Simon Carr said...

Yeesh. First round is on me.

I've been a devoted Apple user for a decade initially drawn in by the promise of MacOS X. Imagine, FreeBSD with an Apple usability layer. It's been a good run, frankly. But times are quickly changing.

In my opinion Apple's job is to allow me to get to Google (and other sites). That's it. The more they get in my way the more attractive alternatives become, despite oddball shortcomings.

If the iPhoneOS philosophy starts to obviously creep into MacOS X, I'm ready to pack my e-things and leave within 24 hours.

Unknown said...

Congratulations on the 24th wedding anniversary. Not bad in this day and age!Alan

Jeff C said...

All I'll say, Gordon, is that I thought I was the only person who felt screwed by this battle, so thanks for a great post.

I have always loved Apple's designs and I think Google's cloud is top-notch. It would have been great if they could have worked through their problems, but it seems that Schmidt and Jobs are both haunted by their past demons (they each got screwed by the same company).

JGF said...

It's good to know I'm not alone.

Maybe we need a secret handshake so we can identify one another in bars that serve bad whisky.

JazzDemon said...

Almost a year on from when this was written and - despite this crazy rapidly shifting tech age we're in - this article still holds true.