Here’s how much of a contrarian (for better or worse) I am:
I have always been a huge fan of Google and its products. I got the first Android phone, the G1, the day it came out and loved it. I got the Nexus 1 after that and then the Nexus S. I moved everything I could away from Office and Windows and into Chrome and Docs years ago. I got one of the first Chromebooks sent out by the company to beta testers. All the while iDevices were taking over the world.
Part of the reason I love(d) Google’s products so much is that they are simple. It’s an Occam’s razor thing. If open source works better Google makes it that way and I love that about them. Because so much of what they do is browser-based it all works together seamlessly across apps and devices.
And I could never stand having to use iTunes or any of Apple’s proprietary software. iTunes is just a total hassle. Apple’s software like this has just never worked as well as Google’s browser and cloud-based solutions. It never really even mattered to me that Google doesn’t even try to build solutions for certain applications. iTunes is a great example. There is no Google way I know of to manage a music library and that’s fine with me because I don’t want to manage a library. I’d rather listen to Pandora than spend half a year proving I own certain songs and organizing them into genres, etc.
But now that I think of it, Google actually did try to create a music library application that was cloud based. I tried it for maybe a half second before giving up on it. My point is that for the things I need to do and the things I do a LOT Google makes it very easy to get them done. It always seemed to me that Apple was more Windowsesque in this regard. There was always more work required to get anything done: update your software, hope you have enough memory to run it and then hope it doesn’t crash in the middle of a massive project (I was emotionally abused by that bomb icon for many, many years. In fact, I’m surprised it’s not as hated as the infamous BSOD).
But, to be perfectly honest, the real reason I never owned an iDevice until last year was that they were just too popular. I really can’t stand being part of the crowd and the crowd LOVED them. It was literally nauseating to me.
Then one day I tried to watch a hockey game on my Samsung Galaxy Tab and it just wouldn’t work. It refused to play the game. Now I pay for NHL GameCenter so that I can watch every LA Kings game during the regular season so when I couldn’t watch one I was pretty pissed. I “borrowed” my 11-year-old daughters new iPad, downloaded the GameCenter app and my mind was blown.
The app on my Galaxy Tab was designed for an Android phone. I was just using it on a bigger device. It played the game (sometimes) and that’s about it. In fact, I remember being impressed that it could actually stream the video feed. In stark contrast, the app on my daughter’s iPad played the game, had picture-in-picture stats and another in-picture window for tweets related to the game. It looked a hundred times better and worked like a charm.
So I asked myself a question: ‘why the fuck don’t I have an iPad?’
I bought one the next day and sold my Galaxy Tab as soon as I could. But what I really realized is that the new world of computing is in apps. Windows is almost dead. Software as we know it is dying. And the browser is over the hill. The app experience is lightyears better than that on a traditional computer or in a browser and the ecosystem that Apple has created is at the apex. Nobody can touch it.
And this is where the stock market has it all wrong. Google is still squarely focused on the browser and the cloud. It’s their bread and butter and they will grip it to death like Lennie and his pet mice. Google has built a brand around the search engine and consumers will be loyal… so long as they’re using a browser. But how much loyalty do they have to a browser? I’d argue that consumers have little or none. Just look at how quickly they moved from Netscape to Explorer to Firefox to Chrome. Consumers will move to whatever works best and right now the best experience is within an app. And boy do they looooove their apps.
As do I. After my iPad I bought an iPhone 5 and a month or so ago I got a new iMac. I’m amazed at how well they all talk to each other. It’s a world of difference since I last was mac-focused about 20 years ago. I have no software and I don’t need any. I’ve got a plethora of genius apps. Finally, and this is no small point, the hardware is far better in terms of quality and reliability than anything I’ve ever used. And I can enjoy the whole experience even more knowing that the crowd has gone Google-crazy. For now…
Disclosure: I own both Google and Apple stock for myself and for clients