Apple Is Missing a Huge Opportunity to Hurt Google

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has a problem. Chrome isn't as reliable as I thought it was.

Two years ago, I swore off Mozilla's Firefox because Chrome performed better. "The new edition of Chrome for the Mac is not only faster than my edition of Firefox, but it needed no plug-ins to handle my tricked-out versions of Gmail and Google Calendar," I wrote at the time.

And all was well until about three months ago. Chrome started crashing intermittently as its Flash plugin failed. Then "intermittently" became "daily." Only a full restart of my Mac would cure the issue.

Over the weekend I switched off Chrome's ability to load Flash. My system hasn't crashed since.

An unhappy chorus
My fellow Mac users will undoubtedly chime in here that the late Steve Jobs warned about the dangers of Flash, leading to a very public battle between Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) that ended with having the Mac maker join Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Google in backing HTML5-compatible formats for video playback, such as the H.264 file format.

When I posted details of my problem to Facebook, some friends and colleagues responded that they, too, had experienced trouble using Chrome and Flash.

Elsewhere, News.com recently reported that Chrome was crashing some MacBooks. Apple's software for enabling graphics acceleration may have also contributed to the problem. Google, for its part, is working on a fix and a stronger "sandbox" for containing how Flash executes code. The latter, so far only available to Windows users, should make it more difficult for digital miscreants to target Flash.

On the rise anyway
Despite these issues, the latest data from StatCounter says that all versions of Chrome now serve 33.8% of the browser market. That's up from 32.8% in June and 22.1% last July, USA Today reports. Microsoft's Internet Explorer ranks a close second with 32%, but Firefox lags at 23.7%.

My guess is we'll see more data like this now that Chrome for iOS is available. I use it on my aging iPhone 3GS and am finding it to be much faster than Apple's built-in Safari browser or Yahoo!'s Axis, which I tried in May. Synchronicity with my desktop bookmarks also makes it an attractive choice as a gateway to the Web while on the road.

Socially aware profits
Will Facebook create a browser to ramp up its competition with Google? That's a bigger question for another day. All we know right now is the social network has failed to become the multibagger in the making IPO investors were hoping for. But this stock story is also in the early stages. Will you follow along? Our new premium research service can help. Sign up now, and you'll get a detailed report on Facebook's opportunities and major risks in the years ahead, plus quarterly updates. If Facebook's not your cup of tea, we also have you covered with a premium report on Apple. Claim your copy now.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google and salesforce.com at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, Facebook, Adobe Systems, and Microsoft, creating a diagonal call position in Adobe Systems, and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (7)

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  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 2:13 AM, fatmonk wrote:

    What is a missing Opportunity here? I have both Chrome 21 and Safari 6. I used to work on C a lot but since safari 6 release. it is a lot faster and better for what I am doing. Safari 5 is terrible(for what I am doing).

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 6:25 AM, melegross wrote:

    Chrome can't be faster on iOS. There are technical reasons for that, and it's been tested on several tech sites. Always, it's been slower. So, your impression isn't correct.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 8:28 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @melegross,

    >>Chrome can't be faster on iOS. There are technical reasons for that, and it's been tested on several tech sites.

    Tell us more. Maybe include a link or two?

    I'll only say that sites that notoriously load poorly on Safari are loading better on Chrome for iOS -- I don't have actual performance data.

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    Tim Beyers

    TMFMileHigh, Motley Fool Rule Breakers Analyst, Supernova Odyssey I Portfolio Contributor

    Web: http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 8:53 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @fatmonk,

    >>What is a missing Opportunity here? I have both Chrome 21 and Safari 6. I used to work on C a lot but since safari 6 release. it is a lot faster and better for what I am doing. Safari 5 is terrible(for what I am doing).

    Apple doesn't invest in Safari as strategically as Google invests in Chrome. But if it did, I think more would look to Safari as a legit front-end for cloud computing.

    Safari performs well but suffers from an obtuse design. Chrome's simple bookmark syncing is a good example of where it has a UI edge, which is unusual given Apple's emphasis on simple, clean interfaces. The quality of plugins also leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion.

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    Tim Beyers

    TMFMileHigh, Motley Fool Rule Breakers Analyst, Supernova Odyssey I Portfolio Contributor

    Web: http://timbeyers.me

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