Why is Google willing to cooperate and compete simultaneously with Apple, but not willing to do so with Microsoft?
This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Then Google’s CEO, Larry Page took the stage and shared a vision of what he hopes can be tackled with technology and bringing people together. Okay, some of it was utopian, maybe even naïve, but none of it was fluff and he genuinely believed in what he was talking about.
Perhaps the most poignant remark he made during his 45 minutes on stage, was as follows, “Every story I read about Google is about us versus some other company, or something else, and I really don’t find that interesting. We should be building things that don’t exist.” Later he noted, “Being negative is not how we make progress.”
Hear hear Mr. Page!! Since then, we have seen exactly one accomplishment when it comes to the ongoing bickering between Google and Microsoft, a YouTube app for Windows Phone, and even then, it is not a true "first party" app. The rest, still does not exist. Google goes out of its way to avoid any interaction from Microsoft. It could be any number of reasons, but I will focus on the age old cornerstone that drives people to madness: money.
Money is also the reason why Google should not be stonewalling its development into the Microsoft realm. As I noted in some musings about Motorola, Google has plenty of money, no doubt about it. However, shareholders that are playing in the thousand-dollar-per-share arena want to see real returns. That means revenues. Google makes its money from ad and data mining of traffic that uses its services, up to, and including people that use Internet Explorer to access their Gmail, Google search, et al.
We know that Microsoft makes a hefty sum of money from the patent fees for intellectual property that is in use on the Android operating system. If that is some deep rooted source of resentment, then Google again needs to put its money where its mouth is and either develop a new method or technology to avoid paying those royalties, or it could play the same game it plays with Apple.
Today, Google Play Music is now available for iOS. It is now competing with a myriad of other services from Pandora, to Slacker, and iTunes radio. For every user that chooses Google Play Music, that is money in Google’s wallet, right out from under Apple. Google Play Music is a great competitor to iTunes and Xbox Music. Myself, I have about 3,000 titles loaded there and it is one less thing to worry about when I switch devices (which I do often as you might imagine). I have used the service on a trial basis and it is a viable option for anyone that wants access to tons of music.
I know Windows Phone does not have nearly the size and scope of Android and iOS, but Windows itself dwarfs them all handily. Even Facebook, no stranger to data mining and who still has not made a native Windows Phone app, has developed a dedicated app for Windows 8.1.
So the mindless bickering could be about power, but we know Google is practically omnipotent. We know it is not about a lack of talent, look at what is being create despite the bantering. What else is it besides money? To that end, I wonder, is the rapidly expanding Windows Phone ecosystem truly not appealing to the algorithm masters at Google?
So far, the growth of Windows Phone is outpacing everything else combined. I cannot speak for Mr. Page, but if I were CEO of a competitor, I would needle my way to get a piece of that in any way possible. Dedicated Gmail app? Done. Dedicated Google+ app? Done. Dedicated Google Play Music? Super done. All that, and more, would be done with the knowledge that every user of Google's service is feeding the machine that makes Google profitable, and allows it to do great things.
When you contrast the effort that Google puts into the larger iOS environment, it is understandable that Windows Phone (or even Windows to some degree) would not be at the top of the list, but this just plain “ignore them.” The problem for Google is that Microsoft is not an entity that can be ignored with the hope that it may go away.
Another "problem" that may eat at Google is Samsung, if Samsung decides to really push Tizen in direct competition to Android, that is another thing that cannot simply be "ignored away." Suddenly, expanding the user base into a third competing platform like Windows, may not seem like such a bad idea.
Microsoft was able to move the goal posts in its favor once, and it used Larry's vision to advance the cause. It may be time for round two.