Apple and Google are working together on a Bluetooth technology that will allow the competing platforms iOS and Android to communicate for good. Isn’t that historic? We look back on the rivalry between the arch-enemies, and some of the best jibes these companies have thrown at each other over the years.
“Leave the church in the village”, I can feel you already commenting. Yes, let’s leave it in the village, but the union of Google and Apple could mean the end of the eternal iOS vs Android bashing. Imagine: Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich suddenly enter into a club friendship. I can imagine the faces of the supporters only too well. Similarly, the disgusted faces of hardcore Apple disciples and Android supporters flash before my inner eye. Because this week we reported:
Suddenly the cross-platform communication between iOS and Android is working – via Bluetooth, movement data of both camps can be exchanged in an encrypted form. This will enable authorities and health organizations to provide reliable contact tracking. A joint app is also being planned. We take the opportunity to let the rivalry between Apple and Google melt in our mouth once again.
2005: Steve Jobs declares “war” on Google
Apple and Google got along quite well a long time ago. They had conspired together against Microsoft. So Google tinkered with apps for Apple’s groundbreaking iPhones. But long before the first smartphones with iOS or Android saw the light of day, there was a more or less serious rivalry between Apple and Google. The first fight between the two companies is illustrated by a quote from Apple veteran Steve Jobs.
The Apple father, known for being impulsive, is said to have railed in an email to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. He was referring to Google’s plans to take over the development team of Apple’s own Safari browser. Google is said to have planned the takeover for the further development of the Chrome browser. So shortly before the introduction of the first iPhone, the tech giants began to fight it out. Jobs is said to have already known about Google’s development of its own mobile operating system at that time.
2008: the HTC Dream finally ignites the War of the Roses
About a year after the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, it became too colorful for the returned Jobs. Google introduced the HTC Dream in autumn 2008. It is considered the first official Android smartphone. Like Apple’s iPhone, the HTC Dream with Google’s operating system was exclusively available through T-Mobile. Witnesses reported a furious Steve Jobs who was able to force Google in the first instance to remove similarities to iOS, such as zoom gestures, from the system. Eric Schmidt, Google boss at the time, gave an entertaining account of this. With newer Android versions, however, the consideration of possible Jobs’ sensitivities was abandoned.
Jobs then set himself the goal in life: “If I have to, I will use my last breath and all 40 billion dollars Apple has in the bank to correct this injustice”, he is said to have told the author of his biography. “I will destroy Android because it is a stolen product. I am prepared to go to thermonuclear war for this.”
2012: Apple kicks Google apps off the iPhone
However, due to licensing agreements, Jobs was unable to put his threats into practice immediately. He took his resentment towards Google to his grave in 2011. Only after his death in 2012 did license agreements with Google end, guaranteeing YouTube and Google Maps on every iPhone. With Apple Maps and the banning of the YouTube app with iOS 6, Apple sent a clear message. At the time, Google served a good half of the smartphone market with its Android operating system. The corporate rivalry had long since passed over to mobile phone users. There seemed to be either Apple fanboys or Android nerds. The question of which operating system is the best remains unanswered to this day and is the subject of heated discussions.
2013: Siri mocks Google Glass
One year later, Apple used it’s then still quite young language assistant Siri to give voice to the rivalry with Google. In 2012 Google Glass saw the light of day. What Apple thought of the gadget, iPhone users were able to find out at the time via a Siri voice command. For example, the Apple assistant responded to Google’s voice command “Ok, Glass” with quips: “Just so you know, blinking doesn’t work for me”. Or “I think the glass(es) is half empty”. Siri also warned against strapping the iPhone around your head. Steve Jobs would certainly have liked these jibes. Google got involved in the war and had Google Glass countered: “Google’s voice search doesn’t just hear you, it understands you.”
2014: Tim Cook claims “Google is our biggest rival”
Tim Cook took over the legacy of Steve Jobs and also continued the rivalry with Google. In an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose, Apple’s CEO explained that the spirit of the founder would remain forever in the company DNA. He underlined this with the statement that Apple has only one competitor: Google. Rivals like Samsung only supplied the hardware for an operating system that ultimately came from Google.
2019: Google starts teasing the iPhone X
But even if it seems that Apple in particular never got over the development of Android, the search engine operator is playing the game. With an entertaining marketing campaign, Google stung Apple last year. Two posters were placed on walls in several cities. At the top was an underexposed motif with the words “iPhone X” and the price of $999. Just below, the lettering “Pixel 3a” and “$399”, only much better exposed. With this, Google was having a dig at the much more expensive Apple technology, which produces comparatively poorer photo results. However, it is questionable whether smartphones can be compared when two years of development time is between them. Google teased Apple’s iPhone X with several such comparisons last year. One suspects that Google could not use the term “iPhone XS” for its marketing strategy, but actually wanted to address the then most current iPhone.
2019: Apple and Google work on common smart home standard
Despite everything, 2019 seems to have been the year in which both companies, for the first time in years, pushed their rivalry into the background for the good cause of technological progress. Last December, Apple and Google announced, along with Amazon and Zigbee, that they were working on a common smart home standard. The Project Connected Home over IP aims to simplify development for product manufacturers and to simplify cross-platform compatibility for users of smart home products. To this end, the participating companies have defined an interdisciplinary working group that is to pursue an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a uniform connection protocol. So again, they are working together on a user added value.
2020: iOS and Android merge for the good cause
Romantically speaking, it is the difficult year 2020 that will finally bring Apple and Google closer together than ever before to declare war on a global virus. Even when viewed soberly, Android and iOS have never been so close. Direct communication via Bluetooth is not possible. How often users of Android and iOS smartphones have complained about the difficult sharing possibilities between both platforms can only be estimated. It should be clear that Apple, in particular, has been reluctant to accept compatibility. The focus was always on the supposed security of Apple’s operating systems, which should not endanger its users due to the open – and more vulnerable – Android. In recent years, however, the company has lost credibility with this approach due to several security vulnerabilities.
But the fact that the cooperation to develop a Bluetooth interface between Android and iOS means the end of the rivalry in the short term does not mean that iOS and Android will get along better in the future. But theApple and Google union of two eternal rivals alone should be an incentive for us end users to finally give up bashing and unite in our common passion: intoxicating technologies. I am ready for this fan friendship.