Apple and Google are poaching each other’s employees, wooing each other’s app developers and taking each other to court in a bid to ensure their share of the mobile market.
With smartphones and tablets the technology of choice, both are clamouring for market dominance.
That’s the story Wired contributing editor Fred Vogelstein tells in his book, Dogfight: How Apple and Google went to War and Started a Revolution.
Apple had a three-year headstart in the mobile platform market, but Google’s Android has overtaken it to the point where it has grabbed 80 per cent market share.
“It’s starting to look very similar to the fight that Apple had with Microsoft in the 1980s, which was that ultimately the best way to get control of the market is to distribute the software to as many different manufacturers as you possibly can,” Vogelstein said in an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange.
In the 1980s, Apple and Microsoft battled it out for the PC market, and Microsoft won by allowing independents to make its hardware and software. Apple's Steve Jobs had a different idea, Vogelstein said.
“He believed that in order to make a product that consumers wanted to buy you had to build the thing from soup to nuts – you had to make the software,” he said.
That approach may doom the iPhone to a sliding share.
“One of the things I’m worried about is that we’re seeing the sort of platform war that we see so often in the world of technology,” Vogelstein said.
Often the result is the emergence of one dominant player, with consumers gravitating to one system because everyone else is using it.
Dogfight chronicles Jobs’ history with Google, and looks at which way the tech giants may move next as a they seek to keep a share of the content market.