Is there no honor among thieves? Of course not. Thieving is what thieves do. Honor has nothing to do with the act of stealing from others. When it comes to software features and hardware designs, technology companies are known for being inspired by their competitors– namely Apple. And few technology giants do it these days better than Google and Samsung.
Just look at what an Android smartphone looked like before the iPhone arrived, and then look at all Android phones today. What do they look like? An iPhone. There are times when Google and its co-conspirators put out a product first that everyone in the tech industry expects Apple to make, too. Remember the early Samsung smartwatches? Nobody else does, either because Google and Samsung and their ilk don’t steal too well.
Refine Me, Baby!
Copying Apple or being inspired by Apple means much the same thing. Google has become so clumsy at copying Apple in recent years that it adds features or creates products it thinks Apple will make, launches said products, then waits for Apple to do it right, then switches direction and begins copying Apple anew.
Think about that scenario. Not only has Google copied Apple’s iPhone design to the point that the new Pixel XL looks and works much like an iPhone 6s Plus from 2015, but Google also copies what it thinks Apple might do in the future. That was Google’s Android Wear which showed up on early Samsung and LG and Motorola smartwatches before Apple launched the Watch. Now Google is pushing Android Wear 2.x and guess what it resembles most?
Depending upon who you listen to or which technology article you read, smartwatches are either the next great thing, or about to go under as a failed product category. Most members of the Guesstimator’s Club think Apple sold more Watches in 2016 than Amazon sold Echo devices, but the former is a failure and the latter is a big industry changing hit. Double standard much, folks?
Geoffrey A. Fowler thinks smartwatches are about grown up thanks to Android Wear 2.x Samsung’s Gear S3 and others.
Keeping track of your day and your body at a glance is finally possible on watches running Google’s Android Wear
Way to go Google. If you can’t beat ’em, keep copying ’em because sooner or later one of your technology partner stooges might make some money doing what you yourself cannot do. Build a hit product.
The Apple Watch is still more refined, but the Samsung and my favorite of this new set—LG’s $350 Watch Sport—amp up the competition
Competition is a good thing, of course, so expect future Watch versions to up the ante to remain competitive. But also expect Apple’s Watch to own the lion’s share of the industry’s revenue, profits, and mindshare. As always.
Think of what Apple must do in every industry where it competes– and succeeds– while others fail. Apple designs and builds the hardware. Apple designs the software that runs on the hardware. Apple even designs and builds its own retail stores to showcase, sell, and support the hardware and the software.
What does Google do? Copy Apple’s software (and sometimes the hardware).
What does Samsung do? Copy Apple’s hardware.
Where do you go to meet or talk to someone about the Google products that compete with Apple products? Best Buy? Where do you go to meet or talk to someone about the Samsung products that compete with Apple products? Uh, Best Buy again?
Samsung doesn’t have to worry about software integration and Google hasn’t had much success building and selling hardware, but both companies could take a few more pages from the Apple play book they copy. Apple controls the whole widget and makes a few metric tons of profit every quarter on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV, Apple Stores, and Services. They do it all.
Google and Samsung copy Apple’s software and hardware and struggle to make any money competing against Apple. What’s wrong with such a picture when Apple is the R&D arm for both companies and neither one makes much doing what they do when they steal features and designs?