Conspiracy Theory: Is Apple Orchestrating a Media Attack on Google?

For various reasons, I’ve had plenty of free time on my hands lately.  And since I’m an Android Guy, I was closely following the CES 2010 developments.  I was also reading all I could about the Nexus One, what kind of impact that it was going to have on the smartphone market, and the wireless industry as a whole.  With Google taking some unique and difficult directions, I wanted to see what the response was from the different tech reviewers, as well as the people who have been lucky (wealthy) enough to pick up an N1.

Like most of you, I read a vast array of different media outlets – from the biggies like USA Today and CNN, down to individual blogs written by people I admire. As I was reading, I was starting to notice a trend in a many of the articles.  What I was noticing was that in all the big media outlets, there was at least one, and in many cases two or three, articles which were trashing Google and the N1.

For example, USA Today had an article up talking about how the N1 is a failure from launch.  Take a look at one of the quotes in the article:

“This is an epic failure for Google,” says Rob Enderle, an independent analyst at the Enderle Group. “It tried to create an Apple-like experience, but it’s so far off from the Apple experience, it’s not even on the same planet.”

Notice the Apple comparison from Enderle that the author used. The writer goes on to talk about the different problems people are having from the support forums.  Spotty 3g (which was a localized problem I was told), different small bugs and the such.  I am used to seeing the N1 being compared to the iPhone, it is a natural comparison with all the hype and build up we created with the N1, but I was intrigued by the words the analyst used.  “It tried to create an Apple-like experience,” I found this intriguing because I do not think Google was trying to do that at all, and has not done that with Android since launch. I believe that they have tried to go into a different direction, albeit there are certainly similarities in the two operating systems.

ABC News released an article before the launch of the N1 that was geared totally towards the idea that Google is no Apple, and the N1 was nothing compared to iPhone, again something that I am used to reading, but there was a quote that stuck out to me:

“Android was envisioned as a major breakthrough in cellphones because it offered an ‘open’ operating system – i.e., one that other companies could use and design applications for. At the time, this strategy was compared to that of Microsoft Windows, which broke the market hegemony of Apple’s decidedly non-open OS in the mid-1980s and within a decade, turned Apple into a niche company. This time around, the new Android phones were supposed to break the hegemony of the Apple iPhone. So far, it hasn’t quite worked out that way with Android.”

This piece was released before the N1 was launched, and already the author was putting it down, saying that Android was put into play to break the iPhone’s dominance of the smartphone market.

When you read the article, the author goes on to talk about how much Apple has learned over the years how they are innovators, and are always one step ahead of their “opponents.”

I have read other articles like the two I mentioned above, extolling the virtue of Apple’s creativity and awesomeness, while downplaying Google and where they are heading with Android. The question that comes after reading piece after piece like this is, where is this coming from? This is GOOGLE, the makers of some pretty amazing applications and tools that people across the globe use.  Not to mention for the most part… free of charge.  Gmail, Google Voice, Google Wave, Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Maps, I could go on and on.  All of those tools I use daily, along with millions of others.  Google has done it’s fair share of innovating and changing the face of how we do business in the world, so why with Android are we getting all these ideas that Google is totally screwing the pooch?

The title of the post is a little tongue in cheek, but the idea is still there in my mind.  If I was Apple, and saw a serious threat to my business from a company that has a good amount of money to throw at a platform that is directly competing with my main source of revenue, what would I do?  There are many things, and discounting that platform in the media would be one of them.  I was talking with one of the authors here at Android Guys, wondering how long it is going to be until we start to see commercials with “I’m a Mac and I’m an Android” like the PC Mac commercials we see now.  I don’t think that is very far down the road.

Apple has plenty of influence in the media, a few quotes placed here and there off the record about Android would be fodder enough for writers to start casting negativity on Android. With all of the comparisons and the fawning attention Apple is getting from the media in an almost conciliatory way, it makes one wonder about where the ideas are coming from.

So is Apple behind all the negative press that Google and N1 has received?  I’m not sure, but it something to chew on.  What do my fellow conspiracy theorists think?

  • ocean

    Simple fact is currently showing a higher use per unit online compared to the iphone, with more handsets being available the tipping point will come when android is the platform of choice unless nokia gets their act togeather.

  • Casper

    Very interesting subject to raise, I think we are many who are wondering about this (I mean, just go and read the comments on engadget's Nexus One test). What I don't get is that many review sites completely neglects to mention stuff that sets Android apart, like i.e. multitasking and choice. I kind of thought that it was caused by the immense number of Apple fanboys who got their objectivity blinded by iSteve's shiny toys, but I suppose there could be more under the surface.

  • Ali

    have you read any android articles from pc world? it seems like the writers there are required to type with an iPhone up their ass… seriously! and i hate how many reviews put as a "con" on android phones "it does not have iTunes support" you can't say that when only one phone offers that. i'm sure google does that on purpose to allow devs to make applications for that. just like task management, and file browsing. one more thing is multi touch. bunch of blogs bash the N1 and the droid for "not supporting multi touch" which is retarded to say. they are google experience phones or smart phones or super phones or whatever. and google doesnt want the google experience to be anything like the iphone. what im trying to say is that they're missing the whole point.

    • Timmo

      Many of the negative articles were sourced from or quoted the PC World articles, which DO appear to be totally biased towards Apple.

  • Justa Notherguy

    Does anyone seriously doubt that Apple – a company that's long renowned for overall promotional expertise, that is so desperately secretive as to maintain an internal police force for tracking (and even entrapping) potential leakers, and that is simultaneously infamous for their own calculated, purposeful 'leaks' to selected media outlets – would do something like that? Even the most fervent Apple supporter must allow for such a possibility or, as I would argue, such an overwhelming likelihood.

  • John

    Did you just realized this is the case? I realized it from day 1, when nexus launched. Engadget lying about web browser speeds, and proven wrong by videos on youtube. The times article with some horrible remarks about nexus. It is orchestrated by apple and its so obvious.
    There is no respect in journalism any more. Any journalist could write an article against Nexus and receive the bonus in return from the iCrap company.

    • Saw this and when i tested it with my N1 and my Friends iPhone on my Wifi, i blew him out the water and then i turned off my wifi and still blew him out the water with my spotty 3G coverage. So i dont trust anything they say about the N1

  • Meh USA Today owned by Gannett Company… in bed with apple. ABC is owned by Disney and Apple just happens to be Disney's number one share holder. The number if Disney owned media outlets alone pretty much guarantees unfair reviews. Engadget has always been ridiculously biased. I may be wrong but AOL owns iEngadget and I'm pretty sure Jobs is an AOL shareholder. Even if I'm wrong about ownership of Engadget I'm sure their funding can be traced back to Apple some how.

  • eClpise

    After the rocking operations and sweet design, the #1 reason I love Android is that its NOT an iPhone.

    I can't tell you how many people include this in their love of Android when we discuss it.

    If Apple thinks making that comparison is going to be a plus, they are in for their typical rude awakening in the real world.

    I have seen all sorts of nonsense from "too many features" is a "minus" to this question of market fragmentation being a problem.

    Yeah, right. Give me features, give me choice, let me "Think Different".

  • Kevin

    I certainly believe a lot of the negative Nexus One press is coming from Apple and reporters that are partial to Apple.

    Notrox, I don't believe that Apple is the number one share holder of Disney. According to the financial web sites, Fidelity (the mutual fund company) is the number one share holder of Disney at around 5%. In fact, the top 8 share holders are all investment companies.

    I love my Nexus One.

  • jeremy

    I believe there are apple fanatics out there that will do anything to appease their sponsors whether it is the truth or not. I give props to apple for their products. They are good products. However Android is a great product, it just needs more time in the market. With so many Androids coming out this year there will be no stopping it. Android is evolving into a great system. The only thing that Apple can do is try to delay the inevitable.

  • Well one thing that's for sure – Apple been very quiet lately. This can change on Wednesday when they release their tablet. And I think iPhone 4 will kick back hard. And you know what? I love it! It means slashed prices and incentives and innovating like crazy. I think we should be glad this rivalry exists. And if there's no conspiracy we should invent it!

    • hazydave

      Whether it's Wednesday or not, of course there will be a new iPhone, and of course it'll be an improvement. How much of one is a big questiion… they have had nothing but small incremental improvements since the original model. That does suggest they're about ready for something more than that, and to an extent they need to be… it's hard to claim to be the premiere smart phone when there are several better than you in many ways. Harder still when there are dozens.

      On the other hand, this coincides with the end of Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T. The new iPhone announced might be nothing more than one for some other phone network. Not terribly interesting technically, but if they actually managed to get on Verizon, it would be really interesting, business-wise. Or perhaps Sprint… CDMA + WiMax, iPhone 4G, ready today… first iPhone that uploads faster than 384kb/s (none of the current models do HSPUA).

      And that, yet, is Apple's fundamental problem. They may kick back, sure. But they can't necessarily kick back in every direction, and certainly not all at once. A tablet, sure… they're kind of late to that party anyway, the only surprise will be if they don't. They also need this to extend the iPod/iPhone line, since the current model is essentially locked in its present form-factor — there are way, way too many accessories to allow Apple to do much about the iPhone size. The tablet presets another level, but that also forces them into screen resolution issues… how many current applications run? Or do they simply scale them all, and force a rewrite to tap any greater screen size (this one seems more likely, since at least, every iPhone app would work).

  • Alan G

    I think that this is due to the fact that Google phones are better. And they are just too scared to admit that finally they got smacked in the face. Most of my friends and coworkers that had the iCrap ditched it due to the multitasking alone. Imagine what are the rest of the features they saw better in Android?

  • hazydave

    Apple has to watch this stuff. Right now, they don't generally admit another smart phone platform exists… that's often the strategy taken by the market leader, or anyone who thinks they're the market leader. Pulling strings behind the scenes is one thing… they have kind of mastered that, in how well the mold and shape the Apple community, and yet people still think THEY control the Apple community.

    But a direct attack also sends the message that they're afraid of the thing they attack. It lets potential buyers know that hey, Apple considers this thing real competition, maybe you should, too. They do this for the WinPC, but hey, the WinPC is most of the market, and their only significant desktop competition. Apple's behind and always will be, the WinPC is the default choice for a desktop anyway. So they don't lose going after the larger competitor… everyone knows about the PC. Apple benefits if they can nudge a few neophytes their way… those ads are all about PC-FUD.

    "I want those who get to know me, To become admirers or my enemies." -Adam Ant

  • I think that you are on point with this idea. This guy needs to have his head punched in then I will shove his iphoney far up his colon see if the rotten apple comes to his aid then .I am so f-ing sick of all the goddamn assapple rhetoric .Android has made huge strides in a short period of time in my opinion, I have been a supporter since the inception of Android and will be here till the bolts fall off! the other is a well polished piece but it is not the be all end all of cellular multi-media technology.These companies manipulate the media to their specifications to keep consumers stifled in propaganda truth in marketing is what we really need so that people can choose whatever they want unbiased.

  • Michael S

    While I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case, it's worth pointing out that the iPhone had similar negative articles written about it at launch – difference is there wasn't anything mainstream enough to compare it to at the time.

  • bleh

    I still don’t think Apple should be allowed directly attack other companies with bullSh*t reviews and tv commercials. I wish someone would confirm how much media crap Apple actually do because who knows how official the slandering is. Maybe Apple actually tells these “reporters” what to print. For example when Window 7 came out, I remember the reviews of 7 started to echo some new lies the new Apple commercial was pushing. It really becomes a problem when people think Macs are more secure because the guy from Old School told them so in a commercial. In the end I think Apple users and reporters loose while Apple makes record profits.

  • JustAPhoneUser

    It is very obvious to me, ALL of these reviews come from traditional news and online media outlets. These are Google's direct competitors. As a small business owner I need to make decisions about where to spend my limited marketing money, and Google's ROI is often the best for me (or at least the most measurable). These companies are VERY inclined to criticize their most dominate competitor, one that is effectively threatening their very existence. Apple on the other hand fits nicely into their world. Rather then competing for revenue with Apple, these companies receive advertising dollars from Apple.

    Over the last few years the "Official" journalistic outlets have not really retained their journalistic integrity, and if nothing else these "Reviewers" are subconsciously dogging their competition.

    The funny thing is that WebOS, which is great from a technology and usability standpoint, does not get much press at all. Palm is not threatening, so no negative press, but they do not spend as much with advertisers, so not a lot of positive press.

    When you look at the behind the scene business issues, those types of reviews follow through just like you would expect…

    I will say that CNET's recent review of the N1 was fair, but again where was WebOS in the mix?

  • just some dude

    It is estimated that at least 22 million android phones to be sold this year, compare that to the 33 million iphone which includes all generations of iphones, Android is taking over big time and fast. Also its been said that Android adoption doubles every month. It is the fastest going mobile OS ever. I think apple is looking at these numbers and S—–g bricks right now.

    Not only will this be the year of the Android, it will be a massacre for the iphone. and yes im aware that WM7 is comming out, LOL. From videos of the final relese, that OS does not even count.

    Android Rules.

  • just some dude

    Oh and i forgot one more thing, Apple has danned the word Android from there Apps store, Scared much Apple, LOL.

  • krazytrixxxsta

    it wouldnt surprise me if this is true, apple probably realize one minute you're on top, the next you're not then you drop. they probably feel if that what they got to do to keep their position, then so be it.

  • Now a days every move is fair in business, Firms attack each other by using media for different reasons they best know. It is very common in the business world. So, end users know the quality of the product by experience. thanks for the post.

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  • yeah this is cool man..

  • It is interesting to watch the corporate war of mud slinging in the media. The corporates tend to believe that the consumer knows little about their moves. It is true that consumer knows only quality and price of of the product there are interested in. The war between the corporates is a matter of great concern for the shareholders not the consumers. Thanks.

  • Jean

    This issue calls for a lot of arguing and battle between opinions. Let’s just hope whatever their motives in these conspiracies may be, it cannot disturb the technologies that we are enjoying right now.

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  • Apple does make superior products but it is a shame that they have are alone
    in their field. They should allow others to use their platform.
    Bollywood dvds

  • It is an interesting story about this conspiracy theory between Apple and Google. We users are only interested in the products and services these names offer. We like competition as it would benefit us. Thanks.

  • Apple doesn’t need to. The fans will be able to do this on their own. If there’s something Apple have, it’s a following of almost fanatical fans.


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