Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) -- with its sleek and intuitive products that people didn't even know they yearned for -- has long been considered the essence of "cool." But lately Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has become the apple of everyone's eye -- a trend that's also evident in each company's stock price, too. Here's why.
5 reasons Google is beating Apple for "coolest company" on the planet
1. It's more fun to shop with Google
Sure you can try out all the iProducts at the sleek Apple stores. But what was once the hippest and busiest place to hang out at upscale malls is attracting fewer crowds these days, with retail store sales dropping 3.3% in the latest quarter.
Google, on the other hand, is having a blast with its pop-up stores in major cities, and making the shopping experience a fun and entertaining pitstop. Customers who step into the Winter Wonderlab can make a slo-mo video of themselves in a giant snowglobe among falling snowflakes. Google says its Winter Wonderlab is a, "fun and interactive way for the public to experience all of Google's gadgets — from the new Nexus 7 to the latest Chromebooks and Chromecast — all in one place." There's nothing like a slow-mo snowflake frolic to bring a bit of cheer to the hectic holidays.
2. Google's fashionable enough to be featured in Vogue
Source: Google glass website
It's not just nerds that are itching to get their hands on Google Glass. Vogue editor Anna Wintour featured Google Glass extensively in a magazine editorial spread. Then you have former Apple CEO John Sculley, now heading a wearable tech company, noting that his Shine wearable sensor will soon have Android capability.
Google's is reportedly working on a smartwatch, too, which will give the company even more chances to score fashion magazine spreads. Plus, is there much doubt it could make one cheaper to own than the still non-existent Apple iWatch?
3. Google is adding value to the neighborhood
For years, you couldn't read about Apple without mentions ad nauseam of its "ecosystem." But, here again, Google is showing Apple what a real ecosystem looks like, starting with Google Fiber, which debuted in Kansas City, KS, a year ago.
Google Fiber is an effort to offer Internet service at 100 times the speed of broadband, eventually reaching across the nation. More than one thousand cities competed for the title of the first "fiberhood." This initiative prompted Fast Company to name Google to the number 11 spot on "the Most Innovative Companies of 2013," beating out Apple at number 13. Google announced this week it is extending Fiber globally through Project Link to areas with slow or unreliable Internet access.
4. Google's innovation knows no bounds
Since Apple founder Steve Jobs' passing, the outlook for Apple's pipeline is still hotly debated. Even the most bullish case on Apple sees products only five years down the road. But Google is innovating a century ahead, putting imaginative minds to work on futuristic concepts like self-driving cars and universal Internet from balloons up in the stratosphere. Those self-driving cars have now logged over 300,000 accident-free miles. However, Google CEO Larry Page said recently," It's still a ways from being a commercial product."
Project Loon, the name of the Internet balloon project, is best explained in the company's YouTube video. But the company already performed an initial test in June from New Zealand's South Island, with 30 Internet balloons beaming the Internet to pilot testers. Interestingly, Google calls their pie in the sky projects for Google X "moonshots" and their Google X Moonshot Captain's real name is Astro Teller!
5. Android's just cooler than Apple's iOS
Google's Android operating system still dominates Apple's iOS, although iOS device sales in the US have been closing the gap with Android over the last year. Globally, Gartner figures showed that Android platform smartphones accounted for 82% of Q3 smartphone sales.
Another 22 billion reasons Google's cooler than Apple
Google is indeed a wide-ranging innovator. But the question has always been-- will Google lose focus with so many cool ventures and a slew of competitors in each market?
So far, Google has managed to keep most of the plates spinning and still run its bread and butter business of search and targeted ads.
And yet another reason to consider Google over Apple, besides coolness, is the chatter among investors that Google may initiate a dividend. Free cash flow is expected to hit over $22 billion by 2015, so a dividend like Apple's 2.3% is easily doable especially for a company with a net profit margin of 22%. That said, Google is more expensive on valuation with a trailing earnings multiple of 29.40, which is more than double Apple's 13.07.
Apple is a great company, but for the long and even short term Google is the big picture company, the dreamer, the cool one.