With Google, There Will Be Bad Blood
While the company is still largely beloved by the public, sentiment seems to have turned against them amongst their peers, and even amongst many of the startups around Silicon Valley. While these tensions have been building for months — and even years, in some cases — we’re seeing this on display more clearly than ever now thanks to the patent issue(s).
“Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on,” Google Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, wrote this week when accusing those two companies of trying to destroy Android. And he’s right. After decade of being bitter rivals, Apple and Microsoft now seem to have aligned interests. But you don’t have to wonder what’s going on, it’s very apparent: they both hate Google.
At least just as big of a Google antagonist (and perhaps even more so) is Oracle. While the Apple and Microsoft lawsuits against Android threaten to disrupt the platform and/or make it more expensive, Oracle’s lawsuit threatens to destroy it. Oracle is suing Google over the unlicensed use of Java in Android — its core.
If one of two damning emails are allowed to be used as evidence, it sure looks like Google could be in some serious trouble. Those emails appear to extend the idea of Google’s arrogance. As Android chief Andy Rubin wrote in a 2005 email, “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”
Facebook and Google have long been at odds with one another. Now, with Google+ giving Google a significant presence in Facebook’s social game for the first time, tensions are higher than they’ve ever been. While the two sides have been fighting publicly, behind the scenes, it’s worse. This is true even though many of Facebook’s employees are former Google employees. Facebook’s alliances with Microsoft can’t help matters either.
Amazon and Google are also increasingly at odds with one another. Amazon is about to enter the tablet space in a big way later this year — and they’ll be doing so with their own flavor of Android. They also have a competing Android app store. And while this may seem like Amazon entering Google’s space, remember that Google went after Amazon first. While Google hasn’t really be able to compete in the cloud storage and services businesses so far, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying.
Out of any of the larger entities in the space these days, is seems like Twitter and Google should have interests that align the most. Like Facebook, many of Twitter’s employees are ex-Google. And while a search deal a couple years ago seemed to pull the two close together, that deal has since expired, and there is no sign it’s going to ever be renewed.
Google has tried to buy Twitter a few times, and Twitter has backed away each time, most recently leaving billions on the table. And while both sides say fairly complimentary things about each other in public still, behind the scenes, again, it’s not good. Many Twitter employees flat out don’t trust Google. And Google+ has exacerbated that situation.
In my view, this stems from Google’s desire to do everything — which could threaten the company for other reasons. Once just a search company, they now actively compete with Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Yelp, Groupon, Color, Path — again, just to rattle off a few.
Obviously, it’s Google’s right to do what they think is best for the company. And certainly they have the money to take on all of these different projects. But the alienation of other companies — many of which were former allies — isn’t helping them. And if any of these Android lawsuits — bullshit or not — go through, or if they fail to eventually obtain the patents necessary to protect themselves, Google could find themselves in serious trouble. And if that happens, will anyone be around to lend them a hand?
via MG Siegler