Last week, to hear the press tell it, Google went on a rampage against Microsoft.
First, Clay Bavor, product management director for Google Apps, told the folks at the UK V3 site: "We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are, but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8."
Then on the Google Official Blog, VP of engineering Benkat Panchapakesan said, "Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync," a comment that was widely, incorrectly, reported as saying that Google was dropping support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.
On the one hand, there's much less here than meets the eye. On the other hand, Google's certainly given Microsoft a very highly publicized Bronx cheer.
Let me start with the Windows 8/Windows Phone abandonment. Right now, Google doesn't have Metro apps on Windows 8 or Windows Phone. Google never has been on Windows 8 or Windows Phone, and only a wide-eyed innocent would ever dream that Google was headed in that direction. The folks at Google have enough experience with writing Windows apps (exhibit Number 1: Google Desktop Search) that they know better than to put themselves at the mercy of Microsoft API changes. No doubt they're also a touch, uh, skeptical about their chances of getting and keeping an app in the Windows Store. The fact that Bing is hard-wired or almost-hard-wired into every nook and cranny of Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and Windows RT kind of sets the tone.
With Windows Phone 8, Metro Windows 8, and Windows RT locked down to the Windows Store, Google isn't naive enough to pour resources into building Metro apps. Of course Google has no plans to build out Windows apps.
Notably, the converse isn't true: Microsoft seems poised to put Office 2013, at least, onto the Android platform. Right now, Microsoft has 16 apps on the Android Play Store, including SkyDrive, OneNote and Lync, Box Live, MSN Cricket, and Kinect Star Wars. Microsoft needs Android exposure. Google couldn't care less about Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, or Windows RT.