October 19, 2007

Apple / Google ... together ...

In fact, this is a very interesting and plausible idea in a lot of ways. Apple are now great at producing attractive, user-side appliances. Google make some great server-side hosted software (eg. Gmail) and are trying hard in other areas (eg. Google spread-sheet) And obviously their core search / advertising platform is very impressive.

But let's run this through my yasns-and-widgets / Hagel-unbundling framework as a filter. The question it raises : who is doing what in customer-relationships / product innovation / infrastructure?

At first glance it looks like Apple are the customer-facers, while Google do the back-end infrastructure. In which case, who's doing product innovation?

And that surely isn't quite right - are Apple really customer relations people? In some ways, their creative / design-oriented approach is more product innovation. While some of their treatment of customers betrays a less than customer-focussed attitude.

But it sure isn't Google who are doing the CRM ... unless we see it in their planned revamp of Orkut + Gadgets. And, in fact, it looks like Google are also doing product innovation in software.

Or is the whole Hegel model wrong? And Apple and Google can happily work out a partnership while sliding easily backwards and forwards from one role to another?

Update : Cringely comments and suggests personalities are going to play a much bigger role; Jobs wants it all.
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