Have you heard these morsels of wisdom? What goes around, comes around is a favorite. Karma is a bitch is popular. Many members of humanity think that sooner or later the bad guys get what is due to them. That may not be the case all the time, but it appears to be a growing problem with Google.
Let’s follow the trend line. Back before the iPhone was introduced by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Google bought a smartphone platform called Android, headed by a former Apple employee. The platform went nowhere. After the iPhone launched in 2007, Google’s Android project started over to become more like the iPhone. Today, most smartphones look like iPhones.
Some would call such intellectual property and design theft bad karma. Or, wait for what goes around, comes around, to come back around. Some of that might be coming back around already.
First, Android’s founder, Andy Rubin, a former Apple employee, left Google to build an iPhone killer. Second, Google decided to build an iPhone killer. Or, at worst, build an Android reference smartphone with the best of every important component and do so in such a way as to take design mindshare away from Apple and the iconic iPhone.
Well, remember that Android changed to be more like Apple’s iPhone. Most Android devices today resemble iPhones. Some would call that kind of design and intellectual property theft to be a representation of bad karma.
Google and Rubin’s new Essential smartphone company have introduced new models to take on Apple’s mindshare dominance, but managed to skate only to where the puck was, not to where it is, or to where it is going.
The Essential smartphone met with a few good reviews initially, but actual customers have run into a variety of problems, then more tech writers have weighed in with negative reviews, and sales have been in the thousands. So many thousands that the Essential phone’s price has dropped by a few hundred dollars. That’s not good news in a competitive market, but it does seem to smack of karma at work.
Likewise, Google’s new Pixel 2 models met with a few good reviews, but many customers ran into into issues with the display and the price tag has been slashed a few hundred dollars. Sound familiar? Yes, some would call it karma and bask in its righteousness.
These problems are common among companies that, well, simply put, bite off more than they can chew. Apple is a hardware company. For Apple, that’s where the money is. Even the rapidly growing Services group at Apple is dependent upon hardware sales, and hardware helps to differentiate Apple from competitors. Apple’s own software is an important differentiator from Windows-based PCs and Android-based smartphones and tablets.
Google wants to be like Apple. Yet, Apple does not want to be like Google. One of these things is not like the other. Google is an advertising company that dabbles in technology. Apple is a hardware company that relies on software to be a key component of differentiation. Their revenue and profits do not come from similar sources so why is one company spending so much money to be like the other?
What goes around, comes around. Google appropriated a software design from Apple. Google appropriated a hardware design from Apple.
Some would say the universe is in the process of righting the wrong.