Google Vs. Apple: The War Both Sides Win

Includes: AAPL, GOOG
by: Dana Blankenhorn

The war between Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) has moved from the shelves to the courts, and now it hit the platform as Apple pulled the YouTube app from iOS 6.0.

But is this a bad thing? FirstPost notes that, by making the app an add-on, it gives Google the power to update it more frequently. Forbes notes that Google can now run ads on its YouTube videos when they're loaded into Apple devices, something it could not do before.

In general, the war between Google and Apple is one both sides are winning.

The two companies have long had different approaches to the market - with Google using the wisdom of crows and Apple the power of its brand. The growing conflict, however, has forced both sides to raise their game on the other side's turf. Apple has built its online presence through iCloud, while Google has become more creative in its advertising.

For all their differences, the best business advice Google CEO Larry Page ever got came from the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. That is, concentrate just a few things. Page has taken this to heart and killed dozens of products - some of them quite good - since taking over from former CEO Eric Schmidt.

Google is still a search company, but it's also now a products company and a cloud company. Rather than just using its vast resources to do cool stuff, it's now focused on doing what customers want, and what they will pay for. Jobs' advice was good advice.

Apple, meanwhile, has learned a lot from Google. They have adapted more to open source than they did before, they have expanded their online reach considerably, and they have tried to soften their image a bit since Jobs' death.

This cross fertilization is only now being reflected in the market. While AAPL vastly outshines GOOG at any time frame from six months on out, Google has lately started to pick up its pace. For the last month it's up 8.75%, against a gain of just 2.39% for the folks in Cupertino. That's a gain of over $15 billion in market cap for Google, but AAPL's market cap has risen nearly as much in absolute dollars.

It's a win-win. Investors don't have to take sides. Like me, they can be on both sides and come up smiling.

Disclosure: I am long GOOG, AAPL.