Why You Should Sell Google Before The Apple Conference

Includes: AAPL, FB, GOOG
by: Paul Zimbardo

Today is the World Wide Developer Conference where Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to announce the latest products and services that it wants to share with the public prior to their official launch. Set your calendar for 1PM Eastern now, as all technology investors need to follow this event closely.

While this conference is important for Apple, it is perhaps even more critical for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Despite being one of the largest companies in the world, Google is still unable to generate the excitement and media following that Apple is able to. The Apple Store is already down in anticipation of the hot devices that will be announced later today.

In the past, Apple has announced new iPhones, new operating systems, and a variety of other surprises that dramatically impacted the technology world. It is not expected that Apple will announce the new iPhone at this year's conference, but the company is rumored to have offerings that strike right at its former ally, Google. Apple and Google were both deeply linked partners in the past, but now are competitors on more and more fronts. This year's conference is special because Apple appears to have a bull's-eye on Google and below I highlight three reasons why Google investors should be worried when watching the WWDC today.

iMaps To Replace Google Maps

Google announced an update to its Google Map offering last week that is widely believed to be a pre-emptive strike at Apple's plan to remove Google as the default mapping app on iOS devices. Google Maps is one of Google's 'tent pole' offerings that acts as a foundation for the company's consumer services.

Maps are vital in bridging Google's desktop web search platform and mobile offering as this is one of the fastest growing areas for Google. It is difficult to quantify the financial impact of such a change, but the erosion of Google's ecosystem is an important development to monitor and ultimately reflects on the company's long-term profitability. Google Maps will not lose relevancy anytime soon, but this is not just a symbolic act by Apple, but one that should have Google worried.

New iOS and More Siri

Apple will be previewing the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, which will have features that make the iPhone even more attractive to potential consumers. Android phones have had success competing with the iPhone, but the iPad is still the dominant tablet. Siri should eventually make its way to the iPad (finally) and further prevent Android tablets from gaining traction.

Apple profits from selling devices, while Google plays the market share game: Google strives to have as many people using its devices as possible to have more eyeballs for advertising click rates. It is a simple equation, the fewer Android devices sold, the less revenue Google earns.

Mobile is still a relatively small aspect of Google's business, but more damaging is the fact that Google could potentially lose search market share and influence. Not only do new iOS features make Apple devices more attractive relative to Android devices, but any strengthening of iCloud is a direct assault at Google's popular Gmail offering. Make no mistake; Apple is waging a multi-faceted war that has no plans of stopping.

iOS Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Integration

Facebook integration with iOS would make it easier for Apple users to share content on Facebook. Google Plus has had mixed reviews and reports, but it is clear that Google wants to have a social presence as this is the only real aspect of the Internet that it is unable to index and search. Facebook already has a dominant position over Google in terms of social media and integrating with iOS only puts Google further behind. It has been estimated that users spend 100x more time on Facebook than Google+ each month; Facebook integration with iOS could be the straw that breaks Google+'s back. This could be yet another high profile product failure for Google - which questions the company's ability to out-innovate competitors.

How To Play It

In conclusion, it is clear that Apple is only going to elevate the intensity of its war with Google. Apple is cheaper than Google (14 PE vs 18) and Apple certainly appears to be firing on all cylinders. I have been long Google for years, but I am growing more bearish on the company and strongly prefer Apple. In early trading today, Apple is up .5%, while Google has slipped by the same percentage. I would sell Google to go long Apple before the summer of Apple.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL, FB, GOOG.