Before Twitter was taken over by llamas and dresses of different colors, there was a flutter of a different type. It started with Google’s purchase of SoftCard, a mobile payment solution, and the subsequent dropping of Windows Phone support just two days after the acquisition. The result means that Microsoft and Windows Phone have no mobile payment app or system available in the short term (rumor has it that Microsoft is coming out with something with Windows 10 for Phones) so we loyal users will need to continue to whip out the plastic to make a purchase and not our shiny Lumia’s.
The undertone of the move however was far more ominous than just Google pulling support for one Windows Phone solution. Google has never supported Windows Phone and scarcely Windows on the desktop. In fact if you search the Windows Store you will find exactly one app from Google for Windows 8.1. That one app is Google Search. There is no Gmail app. No Google+ app. Not even YouTube. Nothing. Meanwhile, in the Google Play store, if you do a search for Microsoft you will find 64 apps they have developed for Android. Sixty Four! To make it more challenging, many of these apps are better on Android than they are on Windows Phone. I expect that to change in Windows 10 for Phones but today, it is what it is.
If you look in the Windows Phone Store for Google apps you will find exactly one app as well, Google Search. So really, the comparisons are not even a comparison. It’s one sided. But it gets worse and it is quite clear that Google wants nothing to do with Microsoft. Need proof? Go look at iTunes.
If you go to the App Store in iTunes and search for Google you will find no less than 40 apps available from Google on iOS. These include all of the ones that you would expect to see: Search, Google Drive, Gmail, YouTube, etc. The list goes on, even apps that I’ve never even heard of are there for iOS. So it isn’t a matter of Google closing ranks and just supporting Android. Google clearly has made a choice: They will get beside their Silicon Valley frienemy Apple in an effort to shut out Microsoft. The interesting thing is even Apple is supporting Windows more these days with their iWorks suite being able to be used from Windows browsers and being able to read and save in Microsoft Office formats. It seems that Google is the only one that doesn’t get it.
So why is it this way? From Microsoft’s perspective, they want to be the apps and solutions provider regardless of the device or platform you choose. They have made that abundantly clear with their continued push and development of apps for both Android and iOS. As long as you are using Microsoft’s services, for the most part they are happy. Yes they want you to buy the enterprise stuff and they won’t mind if you buy a Windows Phone (remember that Microsoft makes money on every Android device sold thanks to patents they hold) but really, its about the services and solutions for them. That attitude in the new-and-improved Nadella Microsoft means that the company has developers working on every platform to better those solutions for consumers. They are being as inclusive as they can be while still supporting their on products. To be fair, Microsoft hasn’t exactly made it easy to develop on Windows or Windows Phone to this point. It is improving and developers need to keep the faith that better days are ahead. But it is painful at times.
From Google’s perspective, Microsoft is the enemy and the dinosaur in the room. They have what Google wants: The enterprise. Google has tried for years to break into the enterprise space on their own and have met limited success. Even Apple is being more smart about their break into the enterprise by buddying up with IBM. But they have a long, long way to go and Microsoft, love them or hate them, dominate the enterprise. That, simply put, pisses Google off. So instead of figuring out how to play nice and work their way into the enterprise, they are throwing their toys and doing nothing to support the billions of Windows installs around the globe.
To set the record straight, I’m not a conspiracy theory kind of guy. I believe Oswald did it on his own. I believe we landed on the moon. I believe terrorists are responsible for 9/11 and I do not think we have alien bodies or spacecraft in Area 51 (although I bet we have some other really cool stuff there). I do not think that Google’s shunning of Microsoft is a conspiracy either. They are not out to get you or me as consumers. They are simply making a business decision to take on Microsoft and they feel they can do it through not supporting a competitors solutions. It is a misguided and dare I say childish approach. It is one that will ultimately hurt Google as much if not more so that Microsoft as Windows and Windows Phone users continue to turn to other services from Microsoft or other competitors like Yahoo. Karma, they say, is a bitch.
What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the Microsoft and Google relationship.
I completely agree on all points made here.
And the irony of this is that they’re behaving EXACTLY the same way Microsoft behaved towards competitors in the 1990s. They’re overaggressive actions with their partners and hostility towards competitors is driving them into a monopoly status with Android, but it’s driving a wedge between their partners.
And those same partners are the ones who didn’t tolerate it with Microsoft who has “found Jesus” so to speak and realized how to be a good steward of the world. If Windows 10 has even half the traction that everyone thinks it will, it could end up being a game changer. Will we ever see Google fall from top dog in mobile? Maybe, maybe not… but I bet it becomes a more level playing field and I think Microsoft being a strong #3 instead of underdog #3 (or dare I say even retake a lead) forces all of them to be more cooperative than competitive for sake of consumers.
I agree it’s clearly deliberate and childish. However, I don’t think it will hurt them with consumers or enterprises. It could eventually get them in trouble with regulators, but so far they’ve been unbelievably lucky there and received nothing more than hand slaps. Regulators for some reason don’t seem as committed to taking the hard line they did with MS. And sadly the general public still seems to have enough residual animosity regarding MS even a decade and half after its dominance peaked that most people don’t seem to get too wound up about this [Google] behavior as long as it’s only directed at MS. If on the other hand Google was similarly withholding support on IOS, then the outcry would be huge. Finally, I think Google’s enterprise efforts have been a lot more successful than perhaps you do. Google isn’t trying to make money on all these anti-MS efforts (Docs, Chromebooks, etc). They’re just trying to cut off MS’s profit “air supply”. For them making an actual sale isn’t critical. Just forcing MS to cut costs or give stuff away b/c a Google alternative exists equals a win. Google’s core profit center, search/advertising, is unaffected. It’s a very strong business model and difficult to compete against.