ZDNet: The difference between Google’s IO and Apple’s WWDC

From Ross Rubin’s Apple’s ground game versus Google’s long game, posted Monday:

Every year, Apple’s and Google’s developer conferences offer an opportunity to assess the priorities of the companies that control the vast majority of the world’s smartphone operating systems. While Google’s infamous penchant for distraction has pointed the way to where computing may be heading, its failure to expand device dominance beyond smartphones and Chromebooks has given Apple a window to build leadership in other smart product categories…

Google tends to talk about core improvements in its services with Maps, for example, as a particularly strong focus area.The company also tends to make spotty forays into uncharted territory. Among the casualties: Daydream, the Nexus Q, the Jump VR camera rig, Clips camera, OnHub routers, the early-to-market Project Tango, and the late-to-market Allo…

In contrast, Apple’s WWDC developer events have come to revolve around their four (now five) operating system pillars, each strongly coupled to a specific device. Even the scope of the announcements has fallen into a pattern, with TVOS getting relatively small bumps, WatchOS receiving more significant changes, and iOS and MacOS getting the most attention. Future versions of iPadOS will likely contend for that level of attention as well even though it will likely share many iOS improvements for some time…

Even as Google ramps up its hardware efforts to avoid some of its past mistakes and sees more success with its own branded smartphones, it is making bets on AI and cloud to circumvent Apple’s PC-derived paradigm — a legacy that a proactive, cloud-based agent could eventually render irrelevant. Increasingly, though, it will have to do this across dominant device classes designed by Apple in California.

My take: Interesting perspective, though I’m not sure Rubin has put his finger on the difference. Google encourages small projects that bubble up from below, many of which will die a natural death. Apple tends to put its eggs in big projects dictated from the top. Near as I can tell, both companies have long games.


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Google uses its cash flow to throw spaghetti at walls, in search of something that sticks, much like MSFT did during the early 21st century, or at least until Ballmer retired.

    No vision.

    June 18, 2019
  2. Steven Noyes said:
    Granted, It has been 2012 since I have been to WWDC and 2010 since I went to Google I/O but this is how it felt back then:

    WWDC: A highly polished series of in-depth talks and lectures detailing the changes to the existing API sets. Truly designed for developers with immediate access to nearly 1000 Apple Engineers.

    Google I/O: A trade show. Tons of poorly put together demos for forward looking ideas and tech Google was playing with. Many of the demos simply did not work, crashed and were poorly presented. If you have been to Eureka Park at CES, you have the right idea.

    June 18, 2019

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