Component vendors are selling ammunition to everyone and anyone with the will and money to buy. Competitors often provide applications or products to each other in an attempt to control or profit within a market. This is the story of technology’s strange bedfellows.
The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend
Think for a moment how Apple fares against the competition– PC makers, smartphone makers, tablet makers, app developers.
Apple makes many apps for their devices, but also cultivates a third party environment which allows others to prosper by developing apps for Apple’s customers.
Meanwhile, Apple buys components from vendors who sell the same or similar components to Apple’s competition.
Screens, RAM, Flash storage, disk drives, etc., are all available to anyone who can write a check.
On the software side, Google makes apps for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android and Microsoft devices. Likewise, Apple doesn’t make apps for Google’s Android OS (No iTunes For You!), and while Safari and iTunes are available for Microsoft Windows users, there’s nothing from Apple for Windows RT Surface customers.
Why all this cross pollination between obvious competitors? It’s all in the money trail.
To Google, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. So, Google wants to gather information about you which it later sells while giving you free access to apps which track what you do. Oh, and toss in lots of advertising in exchange for all the free goodies.
It’s the money trail that makes for strange bedfellows in the technology world.
Where does Apple obtain a number of key components for iPhone and iPad? From Samsung. Google’s iOS apps are among the most popular in Apple’s walled garden. Many smartphone manufacturers pay a royalty to Microsoft for every Android OS they sell. Microsoft, too, makes apps for OS X and iOS (Office, OneNote, SkyDrive, Tag, Bing, and others).
The money trail continues in the legal world with Apple suing Samsung and locked in court battles with Google’s Motorola. Meanwhile, Microsoft battles Motorola and threatens Android device makers over patent infringement.
What we’re seeing play out here is an epic battle between four major technology companies which compete and do business with one another, or with a competitor’s customers. The stakes are high. As Microsoft dominated the PC era, it battles for survival in the post-PC era. Google, like Microsoft, has become paranoid and sees opportunity in every corner. Samsung seems content to sell ammunition to companies it tries to defeat in the marketplace.
Strange bedfellows indeed.