Smart Phone Slug Fest: Apple, Google Go To The Mattresses

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Another day, another lawsuit issuing from the House of Jobs.

Or is it?

Earlier this month, Apple sued HTC (builder of Android-powered phones such as the Nexus One) for allegedly violating iPhone patents.  Many believe this is the opening salvo in an Apple vs. Google war, with Apple representing everything that is closed, proprietary, and tightly controlled, and Google waving the flag for open-source, open-architecture, everyone-have-at-it-ness.

But this battle may go way, waaay beyond differences in design philosophies.  It was a mere three years ago that Google CEO Eric Schmidt dashed onto a stage at MacExpo to congratulate Steve Jobs on the debut of the iPhone.  Now, as the Nexus One and other touch-screen Android phones gain footholds in the market, many believe that Jobs sees this as a betrayal by Google itself: an attempt to ride on the coattails of the trailblazing iPhone.  (Exhibit One: Uncle Steve's classic rant ‚ÄúWe did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business…Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won‚Äôt let them.‚Äù)

Here's our take on the whole brouhaha: an Apple vs. Google war is actually a great thing. 

Bear with us here.  Competition is good — fearless competition, even better.  The level of new innovation between the 2G and 3G iPhones was negligible at best.  Android, as raw and unfinished as it feels (it resembles an ongoing beta release, like everything from Google) at least isn't coasting on its laurels: it's getting better, and its inviting the programming world to MAKE it better. 

We feel that, due to this new animosity and level of competition between Apple and Google, Apple will be forced to provide more innovative updates for the iphone — and Google, in turn, will work harder to polish and enhance Android.  So whether you're Team Steve or Team Eric, you still win.

[Via the NY Times]

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