Over at Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson has written about something he calls Google’s “worm strategy”:
Over the past six months, Google has begun to systematically replace core, Apple-made iOS apps with Google-made iOS apps.
- In July, Google launched Chrome for iPhone — a Safari replacement.
- Then in October came Google Search — which included a voice search feature to compete with Siri.
- In December, Google launched Google Maps to replace Apple Maps, and a much improved Gmail to replace Apple’s core Mail app.
- It also put out a new YouTube app to replace the one that Apple removed during its last iOS upgrade.
Carlson says that the trend doesn’t make Apple executives very happy and notes that it allows Google to funnel users of iOS gadgets to Google Search, where it can make money by showing them ads.
I’m sure nobody at Apple is thrilled by the fact that the glitches with the company’s new Maps application opened up an opportunity for Google to lure iOS users to its new Google Maps app. But overall, Google releasing excellent iOS apps isn’t a problem for Apple. Actually, it’s a happy development that should boost Apple’s bottom line.
As a moneymaking machine, Apple is mostly a hardware merchant. It sells phones and tablets and computers at handsome profit margins; any revenue it makes later from apps, services, advertising or other means is gravy.
A wealth of good Google apps on iOS provides consumers with yet another reason to buy Apple hardware. It also reduces what would otherwise be a strategic advantage for phones based on Google’s Android operating system. All in all, it’s good for Google, it’s good for Apple — and it’s most definitely good for those of us who like both Apple devices and Google services.