Smartphones

Apple Talk: Can Google become the new Apple?

Transforming itself into another integrated supplier of hardware and software is a tall order...
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has been fiercely possessive about Apple's software, using it purely to sell hardwarePhoto: Stephen Shankland/CNET

The more Seb Janacek thinks about the Google-Motorola deal, the more he thinks the search giant has made a mistake - and one driven by desperation.

Much has been written about the Google-Motorola deal. About how it adds 60 per cent to Google's headcount. Much has been written about what it means for Android's platform partners such as HTC and Samsung, and even more has been said about Google's access to Motorola's vast, though not exhaustive, library of patents.

The argument for the Google-Motorola deal that interests me in the context of Apple is the idea that Google wants to use the deal to become an integrated supplier of hardware and software. Just like Apple.

It would be an admission that the Apple way is the right way. Ideological arguments aside, the balance sheet would seem to agree.

Google is a software company, pure and simple. It's a brilliant software company that has developed an incredibly successful product that makes it a huge amount of money. But it is just a software company. Or at least it was at the start of the week.

For over 30 years, Apple has been a hardware company that also happens to be a brilliant software company. Steve Jobs regularly quotes Alan Kay, a pioneering computer scientist who worked on user interfaces and object-oriented programming.

Kay said: "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware."

The quote often appears on Jobs' keynote slides and he uses it to illustrate the thinking that lies at the core of what Apple believes as a company. Apple, under Jobs, has been fiercely possessive about its software, using it purely to sell hardware. The company's position as richest in the world has rather vindicated this approach.

Android has been wildly successful at growing market share but at a cost. The user experience across the Android ecosystem is not...

Editor's Picks