The tussle is far from over. The direction that both tech companies are headed—toward greater reliance on mobile computing for their revenue—is setting them up for a long-term fight over the same technological turf.
Apple and Google have been fated to collide since at least the summer of 2005. By then it was clear to the leaders at both that mobile computing would become central to everyday life, and more important than conventional computers. Apple was working on the first iPhone, and Google had just bought a startup called Android along with the technology that would underpin its own mobile operating system.
For the first few years, though, the companies saw their missions as complementary, and they collaborated. Apple licensed Google's Maps technology to make the iPhone more appealing, and Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt joined Apple's board.