Apple seems awfully keen to distance itself from Google every chance it gets. At today’s WWDC unveiling of iOS 7, one thing about the improved Siri caused a ripple of amusement among attendees: its integrated search uses Microsoft’s Bing rather than the de facto king of “finding things on the Internet”, Google.
Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with Bing; it’s a very capable search engine. But Apple’s decision to use it rather than Google amused the crowd because it’s yet another attempt by the company to distance itself from its erstwhile ally, now its greatest rival. Microsoft was once that – and now it’s providing the technology for Siri to find out if the late Bob Holness really did play the saxophone on Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”*.
Apple used to turn to Google for many of its important iOS default functions: there was Google Maps on the home screen (now replaced by Apple’s own Maps application) alongside YouTube (now simply dropped); Siri would whip you to Google when you asked it certain questions. There’s been a concerted effort over the last year or so to move away from this relationship.
This is largely because Google’s Android has become the biggest threat to iOS. You couldn’t seriously say that Apple replaced Google Maps with its own substandard, unreliable Maps app for the good of its customers. It doesn’t look good to be consorting with your enemies, and that’s why Apple did it.
Google’s Larry Page recently remarked that the tech world has a tendency towards negativity that is in danger of holding it back from achieving all it can. It’s easy to view this as a reference to his company’s relationship with rivals like Apple (Page mentioned Microsoft by name too). The bottom line seems to be, though, that business trumps other concerns: Apple doesn’t want to collaborate with its rivals any more than it has to.
* He didn’t. Thanks, Bing.