Ruminating on GPPLE

gppgleIt’s fun to speculate (i.e. Will gBrowser 2.0 be built on WebKit?) on what the cozying up between Apple and Google means. Is it really about search box revenue? Or is it a more insidious and calculated move, intended to push other folks to “show their cards” (so-to-speak) as to which major player(s) (or team) you want to side with?

Om’s media guess is as good as any, but I’m more interested in what this means for both search-as-platform and the future of browsers.

As we know, it’s long been speculated that Google is developing its own browser, yet the primary manifestations of this seem to be Mozilla Corp’s physical proximity to Google “All Your Base” HQ and the loving partnership on the Google Toolbar and the I’ll-pay-you-a-dollar-to-stop-searching-with-the-search-box campaign (because it’s costing us more than us giving every Firefox user a dollar!).

Could it be Mozilla’s resistance to pledge allegiance to Teh GOOG that’s causing them to look for another browser partner similarly predicated on open source roots (and thereby easily swayed with the right amount of “bought” — ahem! — I mean employed developers)?

Could it be that Apple’s iTunes Evil DRMpire is too attractive for Google to ignore and that, in wanting to gussy up before an all out Microsoft MediaCenter assault, is stacking its actors accordingly, aiming to not only deliver all the world’s information to you in a single click, but all its DRM’d content as well? Are ya feelin’ lucky?

Well do ya? Punk?

I do see some potentially significant ramifications for the browser space as more and more it’s become a search space, with very little to do with software whatsoever. While the relationship between Google and Mozilla is likely to remain strong, there may be chinks in the armor still, with Google and Apple being more 2.0 strict companies and Microsoft and Mozilla trending towards the heavier 1.5 transitional model.

Think of it this way: Mozilla and Microsoft do not have the same kind of content leverage that Google and Apple have. In fact, Mozilla has no content to sell and Microsoft, well, they’re situated squarely atop and albatross OS that promises to be a media panacea… that requires hardware most of the world doesn’t have. In the other court, Google content is already available cross platform and Apple music files have been downloaded a bazillion times into their proprietary iPod players. Would it not make sense for Google and Apple to control the entire distribution mechanism, soup-to-nuts, across all platforms? Isn’t that what Boot Camp is all about? Is that what open sourcing Darwin is all about?

Well, in all seriousness, I have no idea. But as I said, it sure is fun to conjecture! Y’know, this whole arrangement probably is just a good-natured relationship where two companies who value user experience and simplicity and are pioneers in their fields are getting together to form a union of trust and mutual support. It’s all about the users, y’know? — and doin’ what’s right for them. (If only I had a John Edwards drawl!)

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

One thought on “Ruminating on GPPLE”

  1. On one hand I believe competition is important, on the other hand, I’m really excited to see what the relationship between Google and Apple brings to the market. Oh, how I’d love to see Microsoft and Yahoo! crumble. Of course then we might have two more companies joining the dark side for their investors. That’s why I’m such a strong proponent of the open source movement, we should have free community-built technology that functions as well as or better than the proprietary alternatives. But that’s only an ideal. 🙂

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