The battle between Google vs. Microsoft just keeps getting uglier. The stakes are high and the disputed territory covers mobility, services, and it is looking like it includes anything that touches the enterprise. A number of recent stories are putting this competition front and center repeatedly.
Cutting off ActiveSync
One of the biggest stories out there was Microsoft’s “disappointment” by Google’s decision to end Exchange ActiveSync support, and forcing them to pledge support for IMAP. Microsoft officially responded to Google’s decision in an official statement to theVerge:
“Like many, we are surprised and disappointed that Google wants to make it more difficult for customers to connect their accounts to their devices. If you want better email, especially for your phone or tablet, now is a perfect time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com. Windows Phone users will still be able to sync their Google email via IMAP.”
In an update to that story, it seems Microsoft was aware of Google’s intent months ago. This unexpected issue came during a final software testing period. They apparently have been trying to get Google to extend support and has gotten little response. Microsoft has rushed to get updates ready that will support carddav and caldav for contact and calendar synchronization. Google’s refusal to discuss is very telling of their positioning against Microsoft.
Curious timing aside, we’re told that Microsoft has been attempting to convince Google to extend its cutoff date by six months to allow the company to push an update out for CalDAV and CardDAV support and to ensure mutual Windows Phone users who use Gmail remain unaffected. We understand that Google has been largely unresponsive to Microsoft’s requests for information on how the changes will affect users and a possible extension.
No YouTube for you
Google plays the spoiler again as Microsoft had built a fully featured YouTube app for their Windows Phone 8 platform, but Google refused to give them access to the same APIs that they’ve already given to Apple. Without API access, the full app remains unavailable to Windows Phone users. Microsoft has been trying to work with Google on this matter for more than two years with no progress so far.
Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner has openly posted a number of very direct opinions on Microsoft’s company legal blog.
“Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone”
Google Maps blocks Windows Phones, and later fesses up to it
Christina Warren pointed out a significant reproducible issue where Google was blocking Windows Phones from accessing Google Maps intentionally. Officially, Google had said they were only holding browsers to a design standard where non-WebKit-compliant mobile browsers would not be compatible. However, as one YouTube video report pointed out, misspelling “Windows Phone” makes Google Maps work.
In a surprising backtrack, Google has admitted it was specifically blocking Windows Phone users from Google maps and that they would be reversing this. This is directly opposite of Google’s prior claims that the mobile browser in Windows 8 phones was not capable of rendering its maps.
We periodically test Google Maps compatibility with mobile browsers to make sure we deliver the best experience for those users.
In our last test, IE mobile still did not offer a good maps experience with no ability to pan or zoom and perform basic map functionality. As a result, we chose to continue to redirect IE mobile users to Google.com where they could at least make local searches. The Firefox mobile browser did offer a somewhat better user experience and that’s why there is no redirect for those users.
Recent improvements to IE mobile and Google Maps now deliver a better experience and we are currently working to remove the redirect. We will continue to test Google Maps compatibility with other mobile browsers to ensure the best possible experience for users.
Google – Now with Complete Impunity!
If you can’t see the outright competition throughout this, then you’re missing quite the show. Google is acting in complete abandon and is enabled by the knowledge that there is little anyone else can or will do about it. A couple of weeks back they got away with less than a slap on the wrist when the FTC settled its investigation into accusations of Google abusing its position to hurt competition. An article from the Daily Caller goes into the world of – what if? What if Microsoft were to shut down Bing and leave the search business?
In short, a Microsoft exit of the search advertising business for financial reasons would end Google’s charade that it is not dominant or a monopoly, and put the focus back where it belongs — on Google’s systematic illegal and anticompetitive behaviors to entrench and extend its market power throughout much of the online economy.
Google as Tech Bully
Expect that we will see a continued bloody knuckle fight for the enterprise and consumer markets. That means mobility – that means tablets, that means Google apps vs. Office 365, that means smartphones, browsers, search engines – forget about Apple in any of this at this point, they’ve already been steamrolled by Google. Even Steve Jobs felt he was double-crossed by Google and vowed to destroy Android as quoted in his biography –
“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google, you f**king ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.’ Grand theft. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty. Outside of Search, Google’s products—Android, Google Docs—are s**t.”
While Google wouldn’t be double-crossing Microsoft in this case, they certainly are acting with an interest in impeding with full intent, the emergence of Microsoft’s products in consumer and enterprise environments. Google and Microsoft appear to be on the edge of an all-out war.