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Apple rumored to take on Google's 3D maps with superior technology

post #1 of 158
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Evidence continues to point to Apple actively developing a 3D mapping surface through a combination of acquisitions and in-house development, with recent rumors suggesting that the iPhone maker has acquired a Swedish 3D mapping company.

A bevy of reports noted on Saturday (via PC Mag) that Apple may have purchased its third mapping company in roughly two years.

In August, MacRumors noted that, according to local reports, a "company in the Western world" had purchased Sweden-based 3D mapping company C3 Technologies. At the time, Apple was among those speculated to be the purchaser, with Microsoft and Google also named as possible buyers.

It has now been suggested that Apple was indeed the company that snatched up C3. The mapping company uses once classified military targeting technology to create 3D maps. Technology Review reported in April of this year that C3's 3D mapping method entailed using planes equipped with angled digital SLR cameras to take aerial photos that capture the sides of buildings as well as the tops. Those images were then supplemented with photos from additional camera angles to create a full 3D rendering of a city.

"Unlike Google or Bing, all of our maps are 360° explorable," C3 Chief Strategy Officer Paul Smith said earlier this year. "Everything, every building, every tree, every landmark, from the city center to the suburbs, is captured in 3Dnot just a few select buildings."

Swedish defense company Saab AB reportedly sold its 57.8 percent stake in C3 for as much as $150 million. As such, some have said that a full purchase of the company may have cost Apple upwards of $250 million.



Apple has shown a keen interest in mapping companies in recent years. In 2010, the iPhone maker acquired Web-based map company Poly 9. Prior to the acquisition, Poly 9 offered a "cross-browser, cross-platform 3D globe" product that did not require any downloads.

In 2009, the Cupertino, Calif., company purchased Placebase, a Google Maps competitor, sparking speculation that it was looking to decrease its dependance on Google technology for the Maps application on the iPhone. In 2010, it was revealed that Apple had begun using its own databases for location-based services, although it continues to rely on Google for maps and the Street View feature.

Apple's bet with its Siri voice assistant technology, also an acquisition from 2010, could help further reduce the reliance. Though the service is able to query Google's search engine, it also relies heavily on non-Google services such as Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and Yelp. Interestingly enough, Apple's FAQ on Siri notes that currently Maps and local search support are only available in the U.S., with support coming to additional countries in 2012.

Patents and job openings at Apple continue to point to coming advances in mapping technology from the company. Earlier this year, AppleInsider discovered two job listings for the position of "iOS Maps Application Developer." According to the posting, Apple is looking to "radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services." The developers Apple was seeking were to have experience developing "sophisticated user interfaces" and would be required to work closely with the company's human interface team to craft "new and innovative features for iOS devices."

In 2010, a set of Apple patent applications showed that the company was looking into using future iPhones to generate 3D models of an object or place. More recently, Apple filed an application entitled "Augmented Reality Maps" for an invention that would overlay data such as directions or street names in real time on top of live video. Apple has also filed for a "Schematic Maps" patent where a mapping application would dynamically emphasize or exaggerate details such as roads or landmarks.
post #2 of 158
"a company in the western world" doesn't exactly narrow it down, does it?

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post #3 of 158
Star Fleet has decided to incorporate Apple into its technological fold. We will have a party at the Mother Ship. We will keep you posted. Star Fleet out.
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post #4 of 158
Incredible technology. I hope Apple did buy it and is now busy imaging every city on Earth.
post #5 of 158
I'm one who doesn't care. Not that it won't be cool or really attractive, but I don't use steet view as it is now... Just the regular map appearance is good for me. I'm sure others will like it. It just seems like a program like that wouldn't be good for the mobile world (seems like it would take forever to load)- maybe those at a desktop/laptop. But $250 million... Yikes.

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post #6 of 158
I thought C3 uses technologies from these guys http://www.myvr-software.com/.

EDIT: It's true, but C3 owns the 3D model.
post #7 of 158
The problem is Google still has the most extensive streetview data because they've been collecting it for years.

Like someone above, I don't use streetview all that much but it's a nice to have for many folks.
post #8 of 158
Who really cares about a sucker on a take off, bust a move or we could have a shake and bake off...
post #9 of 158
Apple will probably replace everything Google doesincluding searchas soon as they can do it effectively. I think when Steve Jobs said that he was pissed because Google went after the phone business but they didn't go after the phone business it was a clear message that Apple would be going after Google's core businesses. Maps will probably come first and then full search after Siri leaves beta. They may even use the Siri name as their search brand. One can't be sure what Apple's going to do but with Jobs as mad as he was at Google you can bet they're going to do something.
post #10 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankx32 View Post

Who really cares about a sucker on a take off, bust a move or we could have a shake and bake off...



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I'm excited about better mapping coming to iOS. For a minute there I thought maybe the desire to revamp the mapping went cold after the Placebase and Poly9 acquisitions but now I see that the effort is still underway.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple folks technology from three disparate companies into a nice cohesive product.

Bonus points for turn-by-turn GPS directions with graphics beyond reproach.
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post #11 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

Incredible technology. I hope Apple did buy it and is now busy imaging every city on Earth.

I hope that you are correct!

Best.
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post #12 of 158
Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?
post #13 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?

Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.
post #14 of 158
I will be interesting to see how smoothly the remotely sensed (aircraft) images transition to local (vehicle) images when zooming in on a subject, assuming Apple goes for a continuous zoom rather than a specific transition to a street view.
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post #15 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mock Turtleneck View Post

Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.

You will just get some stupid post saying he stole android and the ridicules picture of one prototype then the G1. They Fail to notice the change in market demand led to the change in the finish product. Instead they will believe Eric Schmidt sat on the board stilling ideas. Despite Apple knew for at least two years before the release of the iPhone that Google was planing a mobile operating system. They believe that it Eric would not have been asked to leave due to conflicting issues. Nope they believe he sat on the board taking notes and taking pictures of the upcoming iPhone. Many of them fail to notice that the OSs function differently and operate differently. But they choose to say that coding aside, functionality aside that the only thing that matters is the look and feel which by the way some people on this website believe that icon based is owned solely by Apple.

Watch this post get murdered.
post #16 of 158
Quite impressive tech. I think it would be good in games not just maps. Maybe Apple has something bigger in mind.
post #17 of 158
You can see the tech in action at:

http://maps.nokia.com/3D/
post #18 of 158
Saab AB has not been the parent company of Saab Automobile for more than two decades. The car subsidiary was sold to GM in 1990, GM sold it to Dutch sports car maker Spyker in 2010, and Swedish Automobile (the renamed holding company) just agreed in principle to sell it to Chinese auto makers Youngman and Pang Da.
post #19 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

They Fail to notice the change in market demand led to the change in the finish product.

There was just... *waves hands*... a "change in market demand." LoL. C'mon, say it plainly. The iPhone came out and changed what people wanted.

Btw I don't believe Schmidt stole the iPhone. One of the coolest things at the iPhone introduction was the pinching/zooming and multitouch gestures, and Android didn't get that until version 2.0 in October 2009.

Surely if Schmidt had been privy to iPhone prototypes that would have been the first thing he copied? But that doesn't mean they have not copied it since. I wonder if they will have an "AI assistant" in the next Android? Not just speech input, but an actual AI assistant type thing.
post #20 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?

Wait. What?

-What does this have to do with Eric Schmidt?
-What does this have to do with "stealing ideas"?
-You DO realize that Apple is the one using Google's map technology right now.



Anyway, really cool rendering technology. It was only smooth on the computer though. Things to keep in mind:

-these images are public, and google/ms can use them if they wanted to
-only available in a limited number of cities
-the thing that apple needs to work on with maps is integrated voice navigation, not a google-earth-like product, although I'd expect that that's what C3 is working on right now.

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post #21 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by macfb6 View Post

You can see the tech in action at:

http://maps.nokia.com/3D/

Yes, that's pretty cool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

I'm one who doesn't care. Not that it won't be cool or really attractive, but I don't use steet view as it is now... Just the regular map appearance is good for me. I'm sure others will like it. It just seems like a program like that wouldn't be good for the mobile world (seems like it would take forever to load)- maybe those at a desktop/laptop. But $250 million... Yikes.

I agree because I'm capable of reading a map. But some people frankly have difficulties to do so, and a GPS with this kind of quality would be awesome.
post #22 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

The problem is Google still has the most extensive streetview data because they've been collecting it for years.

One advantage I can see to this method is that it would be far quicker to map an entire city and keep the maps updated - it would probably use less storage too. They may not get quite as good viewing angles as street-view but the stadium zoom demo was pretty clear and had a good freedom of movement.

I'd say from here on, software is going to play a much bigger part of the iOS evolution than hardware. This year it was Siri and next year it could easily be this and software like Final Cut Pro X.

While people might not see the 3D maps as very useful vs a basic top-down map, with GPS, it would be pretty useful while driving along and seeing the actual buildings you are driving past. That would give you a much better sense of where you are in a big city. Great for tourists walking around with their phone.
post #23 of 158
Just when Goggle thought 3D mapping was safe...here comes Apple again!
post #24 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

There was just... *waves hands*... a "change in market demand." LoL. C'mon, say it plainly. The iPhone came out and changed what people wanted.

Btw I don't believe Schmidt stole the iPhone. One of the coolest things at the iPhone introduction was the pinching/zooming and multitouch gestures, and Android didn't get that until version 2.0 in October 2009.

Surely if Schmidt had been privy to iPhone prototypes that would have been the first thing he copied? But that doesn't mean they have not copied it since. I wonder if they will have an "AI assistant" in the next Android? Not just speech input, but an actual AI assistant type thing.

The problem is that you're completely missing the importance of time.

Even if your suggestion is true and Apple simply changed what customers want and Google had to follow the trend rather than copying Apple directly, Schmidt's presence on Apple's board gave him about a year or more headstart because of his inside information. Google was able to start switching before they would have if Schmidt hadn't sat on the board.

As for 'pinch-to-zoom', you're also missing the element of time. It could simply be that that particular technology was more difficult to copy than some of the others and took a little longer. Or Google may have seen it and made it a back-burner project until the market made it clear what a success it was.
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post #25 of 158
Much as I would like to believe that Apple has bought C3, the news reports this weekend don't quite add up. One site reports that the company was bought and then shuttered, but that clip from PC Mag features the team at CS2011 in Vegas, showing off their software not only on the iPad but also a variety of competing devices including I think it was the Galaxy Tab? So does't sound like Apple has control of this company, at least not yet. Hope I'm wrong...
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post #26 of 158
Did I miss something? When did Appleinsider become a Court room? Last I checked, Oracle is supplying the proof that Google stole Java. Microsoft is getting patent licenses from Android users because Android stole from Microsoft. Apple is using Android hardware makers for the same reason. More importantly Android looked like Blackberry before the iPhone hit the market. Finally, Steve thought Google stole. That is good enough for me.




Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mock Turtleneck View Post

Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.
post #27 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

There was just... *waves hands*... a "change in market demand." LoL. C'mon, say it plainly. The iPhone came out and changed what people wanted.

Btw I don't believe Schmidt stole the iPhone. One of the coolest things at the iPhone introduction was the pinching/zooming and multitouch gestures, and Android didn't get that until version 2.0 in October 2009.

Surely if Schmidt had been privy to iPhone prototypes that would have been the first thing he copied? But that doesn't mean they have not copied it since. I wonder if they will have an "AI assistant" in the next Android? Not just speech input, but an actual AI assistant type thing.

Agreed....Apple took all the functional and entertainment features and combined them in the iPhone and it changed what the public expected from their smart phones from that point forward!
A agree with you on the Schmidt stole the iPhone from Apple debate. While I am sure he was privy to information before everyone else. The first releases of Android did not have all the features and wow functionality that the iPhone had. After a while all smart phone operating systems are going to resemble each other just by the basic functions they all provide. Apple added another feature to IOS called Siri. Lets see what Android comes up with to top that feature! This stuff is great for us consumers!

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post #28 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Instead they will believe Eric Schmidt sat on the board stilling ideas.

The saddest and most naïve/turn a blind eye thing is that you DON'T believe that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #29 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

You will just get some stupid post saying he stole android and the ridicules picture of one prototype then the G1. They Fail to notice the change in market demand led to the change in the finish product. Instead they will believe Eric Schmidt sat on the board stilling ideas. Despite Apple knew for at least two years before the release of the iPhone that Google was planing a mobile operating system. They believe that it Eric would not have been asked to leave due to conflicting issues. Nope they believe he sat on the board taking notes and taking pictures of the upcoming iPhone. Many of them fail to notice that the OSs function differently and operate differently. But they choose to say that coding aside, functionality aside that the only thing that matters is the look and feel which by the way some people on this website believe that icon based is owned solely by Apple.

Watch this post get murdered.

So Apple ripped off Android.

Wonder why Android was so crap when iOS came out?
post #30 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

The saddest and most naïve/turn a blind eye thing is that you DON'T believe that.

What is really sad is believing that Schmidt stole from Apple while on their board........having access to all that information.....signing all those non disclosure agreements. Apple being aware of all this so they would be able to know EXACTLY what information he had and what could come from Google that even came close! Do you not think they had a legal team watching every step Schmidt made while on their board? Do you think Apple so naive? Do you not think Apple scrutinized ALL of his actions and every move he made? So tell me then why hasn't Apple taken Schmidt to court???? They have sued everyone else to protect their intellectual property...why not sue him? Because they can't prove anything...or else they would! If Schmidt stole ideas from Apple then where are they?

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post #31 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

What is really sad is believing that Schmidt stole from Apple while on their board........having access to all that information.....signing all those non disclosure agreements.

Oh, yeah. No one has EVER broken an NDA. Explains all the "developers" and the leaks from prerelease versions of all of Apple's software.

Quote:
So tell me then why hasn't Apple taken Schmidt to court????

He cut a deal that just had him kicked off the board.

Quote:
If Schmidt stole ideas from Apple then where are they?

In modern Android.

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post #32 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, yeah. No one has EVER broken an NDA. Explains all the "developers" and the leaks from prerelease versions of all of Apple's software.



He cut a deal that just had him kicked off the board.



In modern Android.

So then where is the lawsuit(s) to back up your statements??? Where has Apple taken Schmidt and or Google to court??

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post #33 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

So then where is the lawsuit(s) to back up your statements??? Where has Apple taken Schmidt and or Google to court??

Thanks for not paying attention.

And they're suing Google by proxy in all the current lawsuits they're undertaking.

It's the U.S. vs. the Soviet Union in Korea, Vietnam, and everywhere else.

Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse.

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post #34 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, yeah. No one has EVER broken an NDA. Explains all the "developers" and the leaks from prerelease versions of all of Apple's software.



He cut a deal that just had him kicked off the board.



In modern Android.

So you are saying he STOLE ideas and a whole operating system from Apple and they just cut a deal??? How naive are you? Apple has said all along that they will NOT cut deals. Thye refused to listen to Samsung when they wanted to cut a deal with Apple about they IP lawsuits. So why then would Apple deal with Schmidt? He would be the guy that started the whole Android OS. Why not get him and kill the whole thing??? Your logic makes no sense......

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post #35 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Thanks for not paying attention.

And they're suing Google by proxy in all the current lawsuits they're undertaking.

It's the U.S. vs. the Soviet Union in Korea, Vietnam, and everywhere else.

Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse.

Ohhhhhhhh by proxy......that makes total sense now....They have a guy sitting on their board stealing ideas then comes out with a whole mobile operating system stolen from their ideas!!!!!! But ....wait for it.......they do nothing to him....yeah that has been Apple's MO the whole time. Just do nothing about it. Be passive agressive and go after the phone vendors instead of the person/company that stole their IP. makes sense to me.......NOT. I haven't seen Google mentioned once in any lawsuit by Apple.

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post #36 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mock Turtleneck View Post

Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.

Apple is attacking Android by proxy. Apple is suing hardware manufacturers for iphone ideas stolen by Google and incorporated into Android. This link lists 20 patent violations that Apple is suing HTC over. Most are Android violations by Google, some are HTC hardware violations. Courts have not yet ruled on all of these claims. Scroll down on the page to see details.

http://androidandme.com/2010/03/news...er-20-patents/

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post #37 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

So then where is the lawsuit(s) to back up your statements??? Where has Apple taken Schmidt and or Google to court??

Because Google were careful to craft a tale and stick to it about how they happened to acquire Android and get into the phone business. And, clearly, the tale of the acquisition of Android is a just so story that strains credibility.

First of all, the "fact", so often pointed to by Google apologists that Google acquired Android a couple of years (really about 1.5 years) before Apple announced the iPhone is a pretty weak defense at best. It implies that Apple didn't actually start development of the iPhone until the announcement, which is, of course, absurd.

Clearly (and supported by statements made by Steve Jobs) they were working on the technology that became the iPhone for years before its announcement. In fact, a little more than two years seems about the right amount of lead time between deciding they were going to release a phone and having it ready to release.

Clearly, this would have been something that the Board, including Schmidt, would have had knowledge of.

So, the evidence that Google acquired Android because Schmidt, while on the Apple Board, learned that Apple was going into the phone business, while circumstantial, is pretty damning. That's not to say that Apple would have a case in court. For that, they'd need documentation of what were likely private, verbal, unrecorded, undocumented discussions at Google. Yet, the idea that Google's acquisition of Android around that time was merely coincidental, simply isn't credible.

Then, if we look at that early version of Android, it was clearly a copy of the Blackberry. That makes sense too, since the Apple Board would not have been given all the details of what the new phone would be like. The abrupt change to mimic iPhone after the announcement shows that Google realized they had gone down the wrong road.

It's also clear that, since the announcement of the iPhone, Google's strategy has been essentially the same as Samsung's: To copy the iPhone as closely as they can, to the point were they begin to throw things into it, like NFC, simply because it's rumored that Apple will be including it.

And this really shouldn't surprise anyone. It fits Google's MO exactly: Steal from others and give it away for free, using their dominance and revenues from search to leverage themselves into an ever widening circle of markets by destroying profitability for anyone else in those markets -- i.e., basic product dumping.

Anyone who thinks the reality of the situation is any different than described above, is drinking some powerful kool-aid, or being paid to pretend they believe Google's Android fairy tale story.
post #38 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

yeah that has been Apple's MO the whole time. Just do nothing about it. Be passive agressive and go after the phone vendors instead of the person/company that stole their IP. makes sense to me.......NOT. I haven't seen Google mentioned once in any lawsuit by Apple.

Wow, I guess you haven't been following FOSS, AI, other Apple news sites, bloggers and the press on this issue.

Apple has made a strategic decision to go after the manufacturers, who have a lot more to lose than Google, and often (like with HTC) have far fewer resources in terms of $$ and IP. Many if not most of Apple's IP suits against the manufacturer are in fact against Google's IP. Also, Apple can use the ITC which acts much quicker than the courts and will ban imports. Of course Google does not import anything so you can't use the ITC against them.

The effect will be the same with less effort, more speedy resolution, and greater likelihood of success for Apple.


Re proxy, the USA and USSR were bitter enemies for decades but never once fought a single battle against each other. However there were dozens of real wars by proxy that killed millions. The analogy is perfect.

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post #39 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Because Google were careful to craft a tale and stick to it about how they happened to acquire Android and get into the phone business. And, clearly, the tale of the acquisition of Android is a just so story that strains credibility.

First of all, the "fact", so often pointed to by Google apologists that Google acquired Android a couple of years (really about 1.5 years) before Apple announced the iPhone is a pretty weak defense at best. It implies that Apple didn't actually start development of the iPhone until the announcement, which is, of course, absurd.

Clearly (and supported by statements made by Steve Jobs) they were working on the technology that became the iPhone for years before its announcement. In fact, a little more than two years seems about the right amount of lead time between deciding they were going to release a phone and having it ready to release.

Clearly, this would have been something that the Board, including Schmidt, would have had knowledge of.

So, the evidence that Google acquired Android because Schmidt, while on the Apple Board, learned that Apple was going into the phone business, while circumstantial, is pretty damning. That's not to say that Apple would have a case in court. For that, they'd need documentation of what were likely private, verbal, unrecorded, undocumented discussions at Google. Yet, the idea that Google's acquisition of Android around that time was merely coincidental, simply isn't credible.

Then, if we look at that early version of Android, it was clearly a copy of the Blackberry. That makes sense too, since the Apple Board would not have been given all the details of what the new phone would be like. The abrupt change to mimic iPhone after the announcement shows that Google realized they had gone down the wrong road.

It's also clear that, since the announcement of the iPhone, Google's strategy has been essentially the same as Samsung's: To copy the iPhone as closely as they can, to the point were they begin to throw things into it, like NFC, simply because it's rumored that Apple will be including it.

And this really shouldn't surprise anyone. It fits Google's MO exactly: Steal from others and give it away for free, using their dominance and revenues from search to leverage themselves into an ever widening circle of markets by destroying profitability for anyone else in those markets -- i.e., basic product dumping.

Anyone who thinks the reality of the situation is any different than described above, is drinking some powerful kool-aid, or being paid to pretend they believe Google's Android fairy tale story.

Schmidt joined Apple's board 4 months before the iPhone was announced.

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post #40 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

Re proxy, the USA and USSR were bitter enemies for decades but never once fought a single battle against each other. However there were dozens of real wars by proxy that killed millions. The analogy is perfect.

The US and USSR had nuclear weapons that could easily destroy each other and probably the entire world. That condition is called "mutually assured destruction" or MAD. Each party had too much to lose in a direct confrontation, and thus never did.

Apple and Google are in a relationship where going directly at each other is a lose-lose proposition. Google makes most of its mobile search $$ from iOS and Apple is dependent upon Google for maps and search. We will not likely see a direct confrontation until Apple completes development upon its own maps application.

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