In the 1999 geek classic, “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, an Apple employee watching the famous “1984” commercial with Steve Jobs points to the Big Brother character — intended to represent IBM — and then points to Bill Gates of Microsoft, whom Jobs has just introduced as part of Apple’s family. The silent message is that the real threat to Apple is Microsoft, not IBM, and indeed the following scene depicts Jobs confronting Gates after Jobs sees Windows 1.0 running on an NEC PC.
That scene, set in 1983, could be easily recreated 25 years later, substituting the iPhone for the Macintosh, Microsoft for IBM as the iPhone’s perceived threat, and Google for Microsoft as the iPhone’s more serious threat. Like Microsoft in 1983, Google is a key Apple partner in 2008. The iPhone features Google Maps, GMail and Google as its default Web search engine, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt even sits on Apple’s board of directors. And also like Microsoft in 1983, Google is working fervently to create a wide range of competitors to Apple’s iPhone. None of these may ever match the integrated experience of Apple’s iPhone, but it’s clear that the first Android phone has come closer to the iPhone experience than Windows 1.0 did to the original Macintosh operating system. Nevertheless, Google’s task is a lot more daunting than Microsoft’s was for several reasons. [read the rest of the story]
Related: See coverage of iPhone v. Android on Read/Write/Web