By Joe Levi | August 22, 2012 9:15 AM
If you missed the news, Apple is now the most “valuable” company in history. The numbers don’t factor in the relative worth of the dollar today versus when Microsoft was in their heyday — but hey, who’s counting?
Are you familiar with the phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”? Basically, it underscores the concept that two parties with a common foe, could work together to advance common goals. By working together, the two could possibly overpower their mutual enemy.
The two underdogs here are Android and Windows Phone — and they’re both in a unique position: Apple doesn’t like either of them.
Apple is methodically removing everything “Google” from the iOS platform and replacing it with their own stuff. Granted, their stuff is pretty snazzy, but they are driving a wedge between their former rival.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is trying to get their apps on both iOS and Android devices… with some measure of success, I might add.
These two power houses, Microsoft and Google, have a common enemy, and an opportunity: combine forces and beat their rival foe.
No, I’m not talking about the two becoming one company (would it be MicroGoog, or Googrosoft? Neither of those sounds good). What I’m referring to is a strategic alliance to make their platforms as compatible with one another as possible — while alienating their mutual foe. How could it be done?
Information exchange is the magic bullet
If I want to send a link, a file, a calendar event, or my business card, I should be able to do that quickly and easily. It shouldn’t matter what OS I’m using on my phone or tablet. It should just work.
Microsoft and Google could work collaboratively to establish a standard for the easy interchange of data across platforms. This could be initiated with an NFC tap or by scanning a barcode, and completed through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct. If this sounds familiar, it should. It’s essentially what Android introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich.
How would this all work?
Put on your hip waders, the geek speak might get a little thick.
When you surf the web you might run into dozens of kinds of file types: music in the form of MP3s, videos in many different formats, documents in varied formats, HTML, CSS, and on and on.
Web browsers (the program on your computer) and web servers (the program on the remote computer) convey the kind of information the server is sending to the browser through something called mime types (which is an acronym, but what it means isn’t important in the scope of this article).
Basically, each side would agree on a set of data types, and they’d send this over to the other as a preface to the actual content. The content itself might be sent over Wi-Fi Direct, or possibly over Bluetooth — it would depend on the content. The transport mechanism would have to be agreed upon as part of the standard, which really shouldn’t be that difficult.
To the end user (you and I), everything would be transparent. It would just work.
Wouldn’t others want in?
Sure, absolutely! Once this gets going and all us end-users can start being friends, everyone else is going to want in! And they’ll be let in, but they have to pay the license fee to do so… Or maybe they’ll have to join the consortium and pay annual dues and sign a contract that they won’t attack anyone else in the consortium… okay, that last part probably won’t happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Would Microsoft ever go for it?
We have to keep in mind that Microsoft invested in (non-voting) Apple shares back in 1997. They have a team specifically for Mac and iOS apps. They also have a legal team devoted to killing challenging opensource.
The likelihood of an Android/Microsoft alliance seems fantastical at best, but with the war heating up, I’ve learned to never say never.
Jaime Rivera contributed to this article.