Last night, Apple launched iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 (it’s pronounced oh-ess-ten-ten-point-ten) to much fanfare in an audience of over 6,000 developers and hundreds of digital media outlets. And while it’s got rave reviews on it’s own (From The Verge, Cnet, Ars Technica, Time Magazine), what I’m interested in looking at today is the shift in landscape, and the relative positions of other giants in the tech space – namely Google and Microsoft.
While everything Apple does may seem targeted at Microsoft, the fact is that most of the M$ dollars come from corporate revenues from Windows and Office. A slowly declining but still enormous market, that Apple with its focus on high-value, high-price products can never really scratch. Nope, the threat to Apple’s future comes from it’s favourite frenemy Google. It’s an strange competition, pitting a devices manufacturer against a search giant, but one that will play out in our future – as these two battle over mobile devices, home automation and (possibly) even search!
Here are the Top 3 Reasons Google was the big loser today
1) Bing replaces Google in Siri’s Search
Some great news for Bing as it turns five this week. Google and Apple have had a contract over the default search engine in Safari that was renewed in 2011, but Apple has been slowly replacing the Search capabilities around the browser. Last year, Bing became the default search engine for Siri and yesterday, Apple made it the default Search Engine for Spotlight in Mac OS X.
The other big winner was DuckDuckGo which was made the browser for the InPrivate option on Safari. But Bing’s wins here will help it compete well, especially if you see that it’s also powering Cortana and the default web search on all Windows 8 devices. Over time, the more people that get exposed to Bing, the more of them may realize they don’t need to turn to Google as comfort food. And it will certainly spike as people realize that they can (soon) get Windows 8.1 with Bing at a much lower cost than full-priced Windows.
2) iOS has clawed back in terms of Features
Android has always been a fast mover in terms of launching new and exciting features, while Apple has been content with launching fewer, more polished features. Today, Apple launched a series of iOS 8 features that catch up to Android features including widgets in notifications, support for custom keyboards, audio/video in chat, health-related apps and a Siri that’s now handsfree.
Couple that with persistent rumours of the next iPhone coming in various screen sizes (including 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches), and you’ll see that Apple’s attack plan against Android is looking much stronger for the next year. Of course, marketshare is built in the lower-end and unless the lower end iPhone 4’s and 4S’s get more reasonably priced in China & India, Android will continue its dominance in market share. But atleast in terms of margins, Apple can claim some converts back.
3) HomeKit & CarPlay promise to take on Nest++
Google made a huge wave earlier this year with a $3.2B acquisition of Nest – Silicon Valley’s fabled home automation company with a unique take on thermostats. But the acquisition was about much more than that – along with wearables (Google Glass, Android watches), this was Google’s investment into smart homes and devices that are always connected.
Well, Apple was not going to stand for that. They’ve now made their first salvo with Homekit – a platform for allowing iPhones and Siri to control everything in your house, from the alarms, to the garage door to (of course) the thermostats. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, but you can be sure Apple’s not letting up on this vision with CarPlay and the rumoured iWatch coming soon.
There are tons of announcements, including Continuity – which is targeted more at Microsoft’s Convergence vision. But I believe these three show that by competing with Google’s core business (Search), growth business (Mobile) and moonshot business (Smart Homes), Apple has jumped into Google’s future battlefield with well thought out alternatives.
What do you think? Do you think yesterday’s launches were targeted more at Microsoft’s corporate foothold? Or Google’s future growth prospects? Sound out in the comments below or on Twitter @rachitdayal.
The author of this article, Rachit Dayal, is the Founder & Managing Partner at Happy Marketer – a Singapore based digital marketing firm with an eye on the future of consumer behaviour and new definitions of marketing. He is available for column contributions and media opportunities. Please contact him at (+65) 94896814 or Rachit@HappyMarketer.com.