Google announced recently that it has improved its mobile search service to allow users to find applications both online and in mobile application stores. As expected, users will be able to find apps in Android's Market from within search. But they will also be able to find applications in Apple's App Store, making it a useful application for those who don't want to use the built-in search in those stores.
For its part, Google is being careful to give users the option of finding apps within search without pushing them in one direction or another. It's a smart move. It also shows how powerful Google has become.
Google is arguably the only company that has the ability to overcome Apple. As this latest move has shown, the company can work its way into some of Apple's core operations and attract customers. Admittedly, an improvement to search likely won't be enough to take Apple down.
As time goes on, the chances of Google dominating Apple will be slim, given the success the hardware company has achieved over the past few years. But overtaking Apple as the top tech company is a long-term campaign. This has nothing to do with ruining Apple, only replacing it as the de facto leader in the industry. It's something that no other company but Google can do. This is how it can happen:
1. Google appeals to consumers
Like Apple, Google does a fine job of appealing to consumers. That's an important element in its ability to compete with Apple and potentially overtake the hardware company at some point in the future. For years, Apple's key selling point has been its appeal to consumers. Without it, the company wouldn't have been nearly as popular as it is today. Meanwhile, other companies, such as Microsoft, simply don't have that same appeal. And that will only hurt its chances of coming close to supplanting Apple as the dominant company in the tech business. Thanks to consumers, Google is the only company that can do it.
2. Google knows how to innovate
Google understands the value of innovation. The vast majority of other firms in the industry simply don't. Rather than sit back and follow the lead of its competitors, Google, like Apple, has gone out and found ways to innovate beyond what's already available. That was especially true with its search-and-advertising efforts, but it's quickly becoming clear that it wants to do the same in the mobile business, in the operating system market and in the living room. Going forward, as long as Google continues to strive for innovation, it will have a better chance of overcoming Apple.
3. Apple is huge
One of the main reasons why no other company can overtake Apple in the tech industry is its size. With Steve Jobs presiding over Apple, the hardware company has become more valuable than Microsoft. That significantly bolsters its standing as the leader in the market. After all, with more than $40 billion in cash on hand and no other major competitor that has both its size and vision, Apple can rest easy knowing there is little chance of it being supplanted as the top company in the industry. Except, that is, if Google can get its act together. The search giant is extremely big, and it's starting to see the value of innovation. If it can continue, it might give Apple something to worry about.
4. Microsoft won't cut it
Microsoft might be a hugely successful company that continues to do well each quarter, but its influence in the industry is slowly diminishing. Years ago, there was little debating which company was the biggest and most important in the tech space. Today, all that has changed. Microsoft has failed to innovate, it doesn't have a vision, and all the while its financial success has diminished over time. A few years ago, Microsoft might have been a real threat to Apple, but as the hardware company has shifted away from computers, it has left Microsoft far behind.