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May 13, 2010

Google takes a bite out of Apple’s Tablet

The bitter friction between Apple and Google following the release of its Android operating system was one thing, but sour relations between the two companies has reached a new stage of intensity following Google’s announcement of its own Tablet.

Steve Jobs recently accused Google of “stealing features from the iPhone” and that the company had “entered the phone business.” At a company meeting, he remarked: “Make no mistake, they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.” Apparently, this attack was met with “thunderous applause” from Apple’s employees.

No doubt this corporate squabbling is the result of the success of Apple’s new iPad, which has prompted other tech companies, like Dell and Toshiba, to enter the Tablet computing market.

In a report by the BBC, Appleis said to have sold more than 300,000 units of the iPad Tablet computer on its launch day in the US, which sent Apple’s share price up to a record high of $238.49. Forbes, however, says that Apple has sold its millionth iPad, after the Tablet computers had been on sale just 28 days.

Bob O’Donnell, an industry analyst with International Data Corp opined: “Anybody can make a Tablet. I could go to Taiwan, hire a contract manufacturer and make ‘Bob’s Tablet,” he said. “The hard part is doing the software and getting the applications.”

And with it the cross-partisan competition lines up behind its preferred brand: Dell’s Mini 5 Tablet will use Google’s Android operating system, while H-P is planning to use Microsoft software to power its Slate device. Some smaller companies are also selling their versions of the Tablet, with Fusion Garage, a Singaporean startup, offering the JooJoo, which went on sale in the US in March.

But this doesn’t appear to be a bandwagon-jump ,as H-P is said to have been developing its own Tablet for five years and has released a handful of videos and blog entries about the Slate. But the problem with iPad’s rivals is that Apple has 140,000 apps that you can run, which makes it incredibly difficult for the competition to catch up.

The spat between the two titans of tech was summed up succinctly in a New York Times report as: “Today, such warmth [between Apple and Google] is in short supply. Mr. Jobs, Mr. Schmidt and their companies are now engaged in a gritty battle royale over the future and shape of mobile computing and cellphones, with implications that are reverberating across the digital landscape.

“While the discord between Apple and Google is in part philosophical and involves enormous financial stakes, the battle also has deeply personal overtones and echoes the ego-fueled fisticuffs that have long characterised technology industry feuds,” that has exposed “the clash between Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Jobs offer[ing] an unusually vivid display of enmity and ambition.”

At the heart of the dispute is Jobs’ sense of betrayal: that Google has “violated the alliance between the companies by producing cellphones that physically, technologically and spiritually resembled the iPhone”.

But when you compare Apple’s controlled approach to the development of apps, the Google Android allows an open source approach to the submission of programs and also allow users to download them from third-party sources. The Google Android Tablet is also likely to provide support for Flash and will no doubt provide apps for Google’s services, such as Gmail and Voice, a practice Apple does not permit.

But PC World is urging us all to take a “reality check” in that they say the New York Times really stated: “Google is ‘exploring the idea’ of building a Tablet device. It is ‘experimenting’ with possibilities. Despite some bloggers’ tendencies to fill in the blanks with big words, there’s no indication that this is a done deal, let alone something that’s likely to occur at any moment.”

John Sylvester is the media director of V9 Design & Build ( and an expert in search engine optimization and web marketing strategies.