“I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.”
I’m reminded of Daniel Plainview’s admission in There Will Be Blood when thinking about Google.
While the company is still largely beloved by the public, sentiment seems to have turned against them amongst their peers, and even amongst many of the startups around Silicon Valley. While these tensions have been building for months – and even years, in some cases – we’re seeing this on display more clearly than ever now thanks to the patent issue(s).
But why? Why is Google now a villain to many in the industry? I don’t believe it’s because they’re evil, I believe it simply relates to the Plainview quote. Increasingly, Google is trying to do everything. And they have the arrogance to think that they can. And it’s pissing people off.
“Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on,” Google Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, wrote this week when accusing those two companies of trying to destroy Android. And he’s right. After decade of being bitter rivals, Apple and Microsoft now seem to have aligned interests. But you don’t have to wonder what’s going on, it’s very apparent: they both hate Google.
The two recently teamed up to screw Google out of the Nortel patents, spending billions to make that happen. And before that, they attempted to do the same with the Novell patents (though the DoJ blunted some of that attack). Next up for the dynamic duo: the InterDigital patents. Apple is definitely exploring acquiring them, and don’t be surprised if Microsoft is right there to help once again, to ensure Google doesn’t get them.
All of this is even more interesting when you consider that it was once Apple and Google who were closely aligned. And it was a common
vision that brought them together as well – appropriately, the end of the Microsoft-dominated computing world.
The two got so close, that Google then-CEO Eric Schmidt even joined Apple’s board of directors. And Google was instrumental in helping create some of the early applications for the iPhone (Maps, YouTube, etc). It seemed like the two would team up to take down the carriers next.
Then things got very complicated when it became clear that Android and the iPhone would soon become very direct competitors. The rest has been history.
But while Apple and Microsoft have been the two highest profile Google combatants in recent months, they’re far from the only ones.
At least just as big of a Google antagonist (and perhaps even more so) is Oracle. While the Apple and Microsoft lawsuits against Android threaten to disrupt the platform and/or make it more expensive, Oracle’s lawsuit threatens to destroy it. Oracle is suing Google over the unlicensed use of Java in Android – its core.
If one of two damning emails are allowed to be used as evidence, it sure looks like Google could be in some serious trouble. Those emails appear to extend the idea of Google’s arrogance. As Android chief Andy Rubin wrote in a 2005 email, “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”
They obviously chose the latter. And while Sun is no more, Oracle now controls the rights to Java. A very big enemy has been made along the way.
The list continues from there.
Facebook and Google have long been at odds with one another. Now