So I know Google’s stock is popping and everyone thinks they’re absolutely on fire and there are all these stories about how the Google Phone is a threat to iPhone but let me tell you something. We’re not scared about this Google phone platform. First of all, it’s aimed at Windows Mobile. Second of all, alliances never work. The Open Handset Alliance is a joke, but it’s classic Google, and the frothy foaming at the mouth response in the stock market is classic Wall Street. Announce some big piece of unfinished stuff that may or may not ever be this or that or whatever. Get loads of other idiots on board to say they’re going to support this big piece of mish-mash code or platform or apps or whatever. The stock goes up even though they haven’t sold any product and won’t for almost another year.
As for the consortium partners, of course right now they’re all pretending to go along, because what the hell, they get their names into the press release as being associated with Google and who cares if anything ever comes of it? It’s called releaseware. Do you really think all those other companies are really going to come out with any products? You really think they’re just dying to help Google come into their market and scoop up all the money for itself?
The Journal kind of nails the problem with this story. Money quote: Tech consortia for decades have been notorious for failing to live up to their promise. Google Director of Mobile Platforms Andy Rubin acknowledged the troubled history of previous consortia, but said that Android was different because “we’re actually releasing in one week this software.”
But the issue isn’t about when the software ships. Consortia don’t work because nobody can ever agree on anything and everyone always wants to push the group in ways that advantage themselves and disadvantage everyone else. Reason #2 — the only companies that join consortia are the ones who are too stupid or shitty to make a great product on their own. It’s like, Hey, we’ve got forty spazzo companies that can’t fuck their way out of a paper bag; let’s put them all together and maybe they’ll magically become some kind of big bad powerhouse. More likely it’ll just be some scary ass Frankenstein monster, walking around drooling and tripping over its own tongue.
Think of what a customer wants. When you’re redoing your kitchen, and you’re choosing appliances, do you go out looking for some consortium devoted to food temperature management and environmental control technology? No. You go looking for a refrigerator. And you look for the coolest, best-looking, best-designed refrigerator, made by a company that put loads of effort and genius into making something mindblowing. That’s why iPhone has taken off. Because it’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It works. It restores a sense of childlike wonder to people’s lives. It wasn’t made by a consortium. It couldn’t be created by a committee. It is the product of one vision, one man, one genius — that would be me — with, to be sure, a bit of help from a few other people who played minor roles.
Finally, has anyone else noticed the way Google is kind of desperately grasping at straws lately? They spend years trying to do something other than search and nothing works. Then, despite their big brains and IQ tests, they get totally blindsided by Facebook and have to gin up this ridiculous OpenSocial thing. Just like with this phone thing, they round up all the losers in that social networking space to form some dumbass alliance. You know how it looks? It looks weak. Companies don’t form alliances and consortia when they’re winning. Also, whenever you see companies start talking about being “open,” it means they’re getting their ass kicked. You think Google will be forming an OpenSearch alliance any time soon, to help also-rans in search get a share of the spoils? Me neither.
Anyway, Google, good luck with Operation OpenHandjob, or OpenCircleJerk, or whatever you’re calling it. I’m sure glad you’ll be sitting in the middle, playing pivot man. Meanwhile we’ll just keep doing our little thing with the iPhone, which as you may have heard is doing pretty well these days. By the time you hit the market next year we’ll have already blown many minds all over again at MacWorld in January and we’ll be even more miles ahead of you. Seriously. You won’t believe what Jobso and his little elves are baking up for you. That’s all I can say for now. Much love. Namaste. Peace out.