So Microsoft has been copying Google’s search results. Should we be surprised? After all they’ve been trying to copy everything Apple’s been doing for the last 20 or so years.
What makes it interesting this time though is that rather than copying Apple, they’ve trained their photocopiers onto Google and have been using Google’s search results to improve their own competing search engine, Bing. Now Google, which never tires of proclaiming the goodness of all that is ‘open’, is going mental. Really.
Google has done nothing but steal other companies ideas since it started, that’s old news (Overture, Yahoo! etc…) and recently has been attempting to clone Apple’s iPhone to make it’s own competing platform, Android, the codebase of which it basically stole from Sun and rewrote just enough to avoid a lawsuit (which hasn’t worked and it is currently being taken through the courts by Sun’s new owners).
Google constantly harps on about ‘openness’ while criticising Apple for being ‘closed’ all the while stealing almost every good idea the company has. It would appear that Google wants it both ways, when it suits it to be open, it’s open. When it suits it to be closed, as is the situation with its own prized search algorithm, it’s very, very closed.
Why is this hypocrisy never highlighted in media? I read in the press today that Microsoft has being caught stealing, but never the other way around. Google’s plan for a smartphone before Apple unveiled the iPhone was exactly like the Blackberry and Windows phones of the day. No touchscreen and a million buttons. As soon as they saw the iPhone they copied it almost exactly, even down to most of the icon designs. Hardly a word of criticism just lots of crap about how good ‘openness’ is.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops and if Google is finally going to be called out for its ‘closed is evil except when is suits us’ stance. I can see the wheels slowly coming off the Android bandwagon. Fragmentation is causing a lot of problems and its success, if you can call it that, is really down to the coalition of the losers. Namely, the handset manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, LG etc… who don’t have an operating system of their own but still need to sell smartphones as you can’t make money on cheap feature phones anymore.
Sure, Google makes money from searches made on Android phones but as they are, ahem, open, there’s nothing to stop manufacturers changing the default search engine away from Google as some have already started to do. In that case Google does not make a single penny on that phone sale (Microsoft and maybe Yahoo will though…) but it still paid to develop the operating system. In contrast Apple makes over $400 on every iPhone sale. This story has a long way to go.