Google is going to war against the iPhone, and there’s no better proof than its $1.1 billion deal to purchase HTC’s smartphone division, announced Thursday morning.
Taiwan’s HTC Corp’s smartphone division develops Google’s Pixel smartphones, and this purchase is the U.S. firm’s first foray into phone hardware since a costly early failure.
This transaction underscores a ramping up of Google’s ambitions for its Android operating system at a time when the whole world is focused on rival Apple’s latest iPhone release.
Considering the number and quality of the apps that Google creates for Apple’s iOS, it might seem counterintuitive for Google to go after Apple. However, after the purchase of HTC’s smartphone division, Apple’s iPhone is now a direct threat to Google’s overarching goal of being ubiquitous on every internet-connected device.
Apple’s Siri voice assistant uses Bing in its web searches rather than Google, and Apple Maps was created specifically to rid Apple of its dependence on Google Maps. As Apple works to become independent of Google through its own services, Google is now moving to become independent of Apple by trying to build a better smartphone. And with one company getting more serious about services, and the other getting more serious about hardware, it’s likely the end result will be an escalation of the conflict between the two companies.
But while Apple is enjoying rapid growth with its services group, it seems that Google is closer to catching up to Apple’s hardware prowess than Apple is to recreating Google’s vast online empire. The first time Google put its “Made by Google” label on a phone, the Pixel had the best smartphone camera on the market, which is a difficult battle to win, and while the company has had some major supply stumbles, those problems can be overcome with experience and the company now has a large and highly experienced team coming in with the HTC deal.
Apple has always easily won against Google’s Android operating system with a modern integrated piece of handheld technology. Now that Google can design its own premium-tier device in house, the two companies are now on the same battlefield.