Once again, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has stepped up its battle against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant recently announced that it had added the voice search capability to its Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Now service for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, which now puts the app in direct competition with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri voice search assistant.
What can investors in both companies expect from this recent flare up in the long running battle between these two tech behemoths?
No surprises here
For investors who have been following the Google-Apple conflict over the past six years, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s strategy of pushing voice search onto iOS devices doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
The deep-rooted animosity between the two former allies started when former Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, a member of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s board, launched Google Android shortly after Apple released its first iPhone in 2007. In the following years, Apple stopped producing native Google apps (such as YouTube and Gmail), forcing Google to produce its own iOS software. Apple then attempted to create its own maps service to replace Google Maps, which failed miserably. There are now even rumors that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is encouraging Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) to build more iOS apps, squarely aimed at reducing Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s presence on its devices.
Simply put, Apple has been trying to rid its operating system of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), but has found it nearly impossible due to Google’s dominant position in search and cloud-based apps. Meanwhile, Google is dedicated to keeping its apps on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices to remain the default search engine of iOS users, which increases its search advertising revenue.
Apple’s Siri debuted on the iPhone 4S and was later added to the iPad with iOS 6. Siri is often simply regarded as a cutting edge add-on feature for iOS devices. However, Siri is an integral part of Apple’s longer-term strategy. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) intended for Siri, whose voice search results are not powered by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), to eventually reduce the dependence of iOS users on Google’s web search apps. In theory, if Siri grew intelligent enough and could process spoken results faster than typed ones, then it could eventually render Google’s search capabilities useless.
While Siri hasn’t quite evolved to that stage yet, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is quite serious about helping Siri grow more intelligent. A recent report states that Apple retains user-linked voice data for six months, and anonymized data for up to two years, in an effort to improve Siri’s search capabilities.
Google just won’t leave
When dealing with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s unwelcome incursions, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could try to “pull a Microsoft” and lock Google out of its ecosystem completely. However, that would immediately trigger antitrust regulators, and it would also alienate a large number of iOS users who are also dedicated users of Google’s software.
With the launch of Google Now, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has completely invaded the iOS ecosystem. Apple’s mobile Safari browser is often regarded as an inferior choice to Google’s Chrome, which easily synchronizes bookmarks, settings and extensions across multiple platforms. By comparison, Safari requires a wider array of toggles across the iCloud to properly synchronize. Meanwhile, Google Maps were brought back to iOS at the end of last year after the Apple Maps debacle, which proved that despite valiant efforts from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google is still the undisputed leader in mobile maps.