Apple and Google, along with Microsoft and Facebook, have reshaped the world and the gadgets we use today, with the massive use of computers and their operating systems and the development of cellphones and tablets. The increasing number of the individuals dependent on technology is making them fight to have the largest share of smartphones, tablets, mobile applications and social networking markets.
Each company has its own vision of the future of independent media and electronics as we use them every day. The conflict of the different visions has led to something similar to a “Cold War”, a war on how to attract the attention of the customers.
In the summer of 2011, Google introduced its own “+1” button, which was believed to be aimed at Facebook and its “Like” button. That was not the case. It was aimed at getting more accurate data on search results provided by its own search engine in order to develop it and to later make its own social network “Google+” available. Now, it is in an open and direct confrontation with Facebook. This has made Mark Zuckerberg reform Facebook and its main features, such as the ability to control the visibility of what you share on the site, and develop new ideas like the Timeline.
The late Steve jobs, despite his criticism of Google’s Android, did not mention that the success of Google’s operating system will not affect Apple’s market share, due to the fact that, unlike Android, Apple’s OS does not require many users to gain more profit. Apple gains on the average device $368 dollars, paid by the telecommunication companies, unlike Google which gains only 10 dollars a year from the licensing of their logos and names of the services on the devices.
The corporate network providers for both mobile phones and internet are the biggest obstacle faced by the technology giants to get full access to the world market. Despite their investment in the infrastructure of the internet, the corporate network providers serve as a barrier to direct contact between the companies and their own customers with their control of the data exchanged between the different parties. This may cause a delay in the launching of services on a large scale.
This is what happened when Apple first introduced the ability to surf the internet via the iPhone. It took the U.S telecommunication companies a year to provide proper service for its customers’ full use while it was already in use worldwide. This requires the telecommunications companies to be forced to enlarge the scale of the data being transferred via the internet from cellphones to comply with the new services being offered by the technology companies.
The competition among the four giants has extended to the intellectual property of each corporation. Apple requested that Samsung Galaxy to be banned from sale in U.S due to copyright infringements, but the US Judge has refused, although it is expected that Apple will ultimately win and Samsung will just have to pay the damages. In Germany, Apple also filed an injunction to ban the previous flagship device Galaxy S due to its similar look to the iPhone 4.
This, among other lawsuits, have resulted in Apple and Microsoft paying more than $4.5 billion for the ownership of 6000 property rights held by the Norwegian company Nortel. Along with Google’s bid on Motorola Mobility of $12.5 billion aimed at the acquisition of 17,500 patents to gain leverage in negotiations with its rivals, it has also sought a deal with IBM for over 2000 patents, of which the price was not revealed.
The hidden part in Google’s bid for Motorola is that they are willing to make their future devices operate only on Android, since Microsoft did the same with Nokia in an attempt for both of them to restore their market share after it was taken over by Android.
The fight between the four giants is an unfinished war, as each of them tries to attract new customers each day. With the expectation that the technology industry will grow by 20% each year, it is clear that every day we will witness new innovations that will reform our lifestyle just as the radio did when it first became accessible to the public.