Openness may decide outcome of Google-Apple war

Google likens Apple to Big Brother for its tight control over iPhone platform

The war between Apple and Google is heating up on many fronts, the most prominent being the smartphone arena, with Android taking on iPhone. In an effort to gain an edge in the bout, Google is looking to capitalize on the relative openness to its platform -- while Steve Jobs and company are steadfastly adhering to the strategy of only letting proven, reliable technologies grace any of its iWares.

Google used the I/O Conference this week as a stage to lob criticism at Apple and make Android look less, well, evil than the iPhone. While demonstrating the latest release of Android, Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra compared Apple to Big Brother for its tight control of the iPhone platform, according to AppleInsider -- the way Apple likened IBM to Orwell's fictional totalitarian regime in a classic 1984 Super Bowl commercial.

[ InfoWorld's Paul Krill reported that HTML5 also is getting a lot of attention at the I/O conference. | Stay up on tech news and reviews from your smartphone | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

The jab was no doubt inspired by the dispute between Apple and Adobe over the ban on Flash from the iPhone, citing the technology's lack of reliability and security. Speaking of openness, Apple has since hinted that it will not embrace Google's newly open VP8 video codec.

Ultimately, however, openness may be one of the deciding factors as to who will win the Apple-Google war. Apple has arguably realized success in its more tightfisted approach to what it will permit on its platforms. This tact puts greater limitations on what software users can run -- but it means a cleaner, less buggy user experience overall.

Google, on the other hand, is taking the more open route -- for example, permitting Flash to run on Android. That means users can expect more applications -- and more choices -- on Android and Chrome OS down the road. That openness may prove even more significant when Google cranks out a tablet PC to rival Apple's highly popular iPad.

Smartphones aside, Google is infiltrating other area's of Apple business. At I/O, Google announced Google TV, an effort to integrate Web-browsing capabilities into TV sets, a direct rival to Apple TV. Additionally, Google recently acquired music streaming service Simplify, opening the door to rival Apple's popular iTunes service.

This article, "Openness may decide outcome of Google-Apple war," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards 2023. Now open for entries!