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Apple Gives Google the Boot, Faces Off With Facebook

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It's June, folks, and that means that WWDC, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) Worldwide Developers Conference, is just around the corner on June 11. While Apple fans around the globe are egerly awaiting both the planned and surprise announcements, some of the world's largest tech companies are also going to pay attention, specifically Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) .

WWDC is one of many newsworthy Apple events throughout the year, and it's important to keep tabs on them all to understand the company's future strategic direction. Here at the Fool, we recognize that need, which is why we started a dedicated premium research service on Apple.

Google gets the boot
At this point, most investors know there was no love lost between the late Steve Jobs and the folks just a few miles away in Mountain View. His disdain, driven from what were considered gross reproductions of Apple functionality on Google's Android mobile operating system, was well documented in his recent biography. The fact that the company has used Google's Maps as a key application in its iPhone probably hasn't set well with anyone in Cupertino, and at WWDC Apple will detail its plans to cut Google loose and begin using an internally developed mapping software (with 3-D features!). Google's not taking the news lying down and has pre-emptively planned its own event in anticipation of the announcement, revealing a Google Maps event for developers slated for June 6.

Apple's move isn't surprising, as it has been working for quite some time to get to this point. The company acquired a number of companies in the mapping space and recently moved away from Google's Maps in its iPhoto application on iOS, opting for free software from OpenStreetMap. While not the primary catalyst for the move, Google recently began charging third-party developers who used its mapping API. This comes after offering the APIs for years free of charge, as Google went against the grain of other digital mapping providers, such as Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) NAVTEQ, that leveraged their technology to command lucrative licensing deals from customers.

It will be interesting to see whether the move backfires on Google and causes developers to jump ship in greater numbers and migrate toward options like OpenStreetMap. Location-sharing app Foursquare has already made the move, and it's likely that other popular apps, such as local-reviews company Yelp (NYSE: YELP  ) , could do the same in an effort to cut licensing costs.

Face-off in the cloud
As if criticism surrounding its botched IPO wasn't enough, Facebook is expected to receive what amounts to another slap in the face at WWDC. The folks at Facebook won't be happy to hear about Apple's intentions to add new photo-sharing capabilities as part of its iCloud service. The move in the social sphere won't be Apple's first, as it previously attempted a social network inside iTunes called Ping. That didn't pan out as hoped, but with more than 100 million users of its iCloud service, Apple definitely has the ability to put a chink in Facebook's recently strengthened photo-sharing armor following its acquisition of Instagram.

Down more than 25% from its IPO price, Facebook is in desperate need of some good news. Its first earnings release as a public company seems like the best chance, but it could also lead to additional selling if results are disappointing. While Facebook's reeling, though, one recent tech IPO has been flourishing, posting extremely impressive operating results in recent quarters. What's more, it doesn't rely on highly cyclical ad revenue in the same way Facebook does. In this special free report titled "Forget Facebook -- Here's the Tech IPO You Should Be Buying," our analysts detail this company and outline the incredible growth opportunity in its midst.

At the time of this writing, Brenton Flynn owned no stake in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (17)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2012, at 8:05 PM, pbechard wrote:

    Apple needs to worry about customers giving them the boot in the long run. As ppl become more familiarized with mundanes of operating a computer they are going to seek cheaper alternatives.

    I am bit pumped that I pay top dollar for music from iTunes and then have such a problem using it across platforms. I was a proponent of apple in 2006, but the ivory tower is upon completion.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2012, at 9:51 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    "Apple needs to worry about customers giving them the boot in the long run."

    Don't all companies need to worry about this?

    "As ppl become more familiarized with mundanes of operating a computer they are going to seek cheaper alternatives."

    Huh? Putting aside the "familiarized with mundanes" deal, cheaper alternatives have always been an option with everything in life.

    "I am bit pumped that I pay top dollar for music from iTunes and then have such a problem using it across platforms. I was a proponent of apple in 2006, but the ivory tower is upon completion."

    English isn't your first language is it? Which makes me wonder about the motivation behind your silly little rant.

    Here's how I see it. Apple has about 12-18 months of products to roll out to continue growth at close to the rate of the last few years. Absent a new product line or something revolutionary it's hard to see new versions of the i products continuing to grab market share given the competition that is out there. Factor in the law of large numbers and suddenly the tremendous growth story is over. Of course should Apple continue to grow the ecosystem and expand to other devices than this really could be the start of something revolutionary in consumer products.

    Personally I don't see how anyone can afford not to own at least some Apple. It's safe for at least another year and if they do hit a home run with another product it could easily run up to $1000.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2012, at 10:40 PM, moneytrips wrote:

    If everyone on here really knows what they are talking about, then they should understand that yes Apple could go to 1000. However, you cannot be blind to the fact that Android already has the top spot in the cellular market and is still growing, while Apple is shrinking. Why? Because people are becoming smart to how Apple is monopolizing their products. While, Android AKA Google, and others are building Android up to be compatible with everything. It's only a matter of time, or one big mistake before Apple starts to slow and head the other way. It's unsustainable when you try to only develop products that are not open to everyone. Great business strategy, initially, but growth for the future years? NO. Wait and see, I give Apple maybe a year of more growth in the market at best.

  • Report this Comment On June 03, 2012, at 3:18 AM, applefan1 wrote:

    Apple isn't shrinking in the smartphone market place. The new numbers are out for April, and Apple has gone up slightly. From what it looks like, Microsoft isn't doing much, so they might not have much threat to Apple.

    Apple is STILL gearing up for China and Apple's new 4G LTE phone is around the corner. Now, Android doesn't even have most of their users on ICS 4.04, most Android users are using Gingerbread which is an OLD version. I think corporations are going to go the Apple route vs the Android route and that Android is primarily what the teens and early 20 crowd uses. There are problems with the Android OS from a consistency standpoint from mfg to mfg.

    Apple is got way more growth rate to keep them going at a nice growth rate for at least 4 or 5 more years, easily.

    The Smartphone market is expected to grow to around 1.6 BILLION phones sold a year by 2016 and Apple should easily get 40% of that business if they can build them fast enough, which is a TON of units a year.

    The iPad market is still dominating and growing exponentially.

    Apple is still selling more laptops/desktops than before with the Windows market slowing down. Apple is gaining more corporate accounts in both private and government sector and a strong education marketshare.

  • Report this Comment On June 03, 2012, at 5:38 AM, H3D wrote:

    "However, you cannot be blind to the fact that Android already has the top spot in the cellular market"

    Not many months ago that was Symbian. But it wasn't making anybody any money. So it's dead.

    Few people are making money from Android. Google certainly isn't. Amazon isn't. Samsung is doing fine.

    But Apple / iOS is still making 2/3 of all the profit from the mobile space, and that number is still growing.

    Who cares how many loss making 3rd rate products the competitors give away to try to keep a toe hold in the domain.

    Follow the money. That's where the strength is.

  • Report this Comment On June 04, 2012, at 2:39 PM, jacobandersen72 wrote:


    The FTC/SEC should absolutely block Facebook from buying one of its strongest competitors -- Instagram. Instagram is a photo based social network that now has 40,000,000 users. its one of the strongest competitors facebook has seen to date. Facebook has network effects. Without network effects Mark and Co. would have had strong competition a long time ago. Instagram is one of the few companies that found a hole in Facebook's armour through its early jump on mobile platforms. It would be a shame to simply watch Facebook buy away the competition. Do the right thing FTC/SEC and block the buyout. Make Facebook compete.

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