I’m really getting sick of this Total War between the big technology communities, based upon the absurd assumptions that each provider of products and services become the provider of all products and services.
It’s like all of these companies — Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and to some extent AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. — think that to survive, they must succeed in becoming Ma Bell on steroids. The old Bell monopoly only dominated telephony. Now, the quest is to dominate it all, providing all of the services once provided by separate telephone, cable, and internet providers as well as manufacturers of all of the devices used as the platforms for such services.
This, of course, is happening at the same time that the potential services to be provided are expanding at explosive rates — which you would think would make for enough business for everybody, wouldn’t you?
Now, it seems Facebook wants to put out its own phone — which to me is the height of absurdity. Why would I want one of those? It would be like, I don’t know, having an AOL phone. (I have this pet theory that Facebook is the AOL of this decade — trying to be everyone’s gateway to everything, when no one needs it to be that.)
The latest is that Apple wants to boot Google Maps from its iPhones. Which, frankly, would make me like my iPhone less:
Later this year, Apple is planning to oust Google Maps as the preloaded, default maps app from the iPhone and iPad and release a new mapping app that runs Apple’s own technology, according to current and former Apple employees. Apple could preview the new software, which will be part of its next mobile-operating system, as soon as next week at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, one person familiar with the plans says. Apple plans to encourage app developers to embed its maps inside their applications like social-networking and search services. Technology blog 9to5Mac earlier reported that Apple will launch its own maps app in its next mobile-operating system.
Apple has been hatching the plan to evict Google Maps from the iPhone for years, according to current and former Apple employees. The plan accelerated as smartphones powered by Google’s Android software overtook the iPhone in shipments…
I want to know how far Apple plans to go with it. Will it duplicate Google Maps entirely, with a fleet of street-level cameras photographing every foot of every street in the developed world? Or will it merely use mapping technology to serve its other apps, and never mind providing the full range of service provided by Google? (Actually, my preloaded Google Maps app doesn’t do street level — which strikes me as odd, because it worked on my old Blackberry.)
The WSJ indicates that Apple will add functionality that Google lacks. And since Apple is Apple, there is bound to be some gee-whiz factor built in. And beauty. If the spirit of Steve Jobs still lives in the company at all, there will be beauty.
But I have to wonder, whatever happened to stressing one’s core competency, and just letting others do what they do well? I guess it’s out of style.