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Two Companies Apple Will Not Let Die and One It Just Killed

Prior to Apple's (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference, I lamented just how badly Google (GOOG) underachieves. Then, at WWDC, Apple promptly submitted support for my bearishness.

Obviously, I do not expect Google to go anywhere anytime soon. The company will remain a force for the foreseeable future. But, really, that's not the point.

Does any company, especially a tech company, exist merely to do really well? Not a chance, particularly once you reach the upper echelon that houses the Googles and Apples of the world. That would be like the New Jersey Devils expressing satisfaction with second place.

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As such, Google does not deserve a free pass just because Apple will not eat its lunch right away, like it did Research In Motion's (RIMM) and a whole host of inferior others. Apple makes Google look slow and silly. That's bad enough.

And it's not simply because Apple finally ditched Google Maps. We've seen that coming for some time now. I barely consider it news. It goes deeper than that.

When I hammered Google on Monday, I chided it for owning a mobile phone company, and having its own operating system and loads of content, yet it is a destination for nothing other than search, save a little YouTube hijinks on the side. And it makes its money by serving ads that look like spam. What a country!

If Google wasn't busy building cars that drive themselves and tinkering with other projects that do not generate revenue or enhance its competitive position, it might have used its acquisition of Zagat to put an end to the experiments known as Yelp (YELP) and Open Table (OPEN).

Apple is so nimble that it's able to coolly and calmly pick and choose the things it will keep in-house and what it will outsource to mere mortals. At WWDC on Monday, Apple, for all intents and purposes, threw aircraft flotation devices out to both Yelp and Open Table by integrating them into iOS 6. It also raised the stakes, in a good way, by finally integrating Facebook (FB) and saying such nice things about Twitter.

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon Tweeted it best when he stated, in fewer than 140 characters:

Apple: We don't need to spend $1 billion buying Instagram, we just need to build something called Photo Stream instead.

I won't deal with my Facebook-related objection to that here, but it's a great Tweet by Salmon nevertheless. It tells us everything we need to know about this apparent rivalry between Apple and Google.

Simply put, there really isn't one.

Android's dominance in the smartphone space is nothing more than a Silicon Valley dog and pony show. If Apple gave its operating system away like Google does, it would "dominate" as well.

But as a true innovator, Apple chooses to keep control of its entire ecosystem. Certainly, it could buy Yelp, Open Table, Zagat, or as Salmon pointed out, Instagram, but why should it? That's something Google would do.

When Apple sees fit, it builds its own platform. When it does not see the need, it brings in a Yelp or an Open Table to do the job, but only on a partnership basis. What company in its right mind would turn down the collaborative offer?

When I spoke to Pandora (P) co-founder Tim Westergren recently, the first thing he did was take his iPhone out of his pocket, flip it through his fingers, and give it full credit for making his company the powerhouse it is today. I would argue that Westergren would have found a way, but the bottom line is, Apple dictated the mobile revolution and companies such as Pandora are the benefactors. In many ways, they owe Apple their lives. Yelp and Open Table definitely do.

Meantime, Google bullies companies such as Demand Media (DMD) as its engineers waste what is otherwise incredibly valuable time with the mindless task of tweaking search results. Other than litter your search with useless Google+ results, what did Panda or anything else Google has done with search actually accomplish?

Unless you know how to use it (with fancy filters and such), Google search is no better than Yahoo (YHOO) or Bing.

I fully admit that I am probably being too hard on a multi-billion dollar advertising juggernaut that makes more money in 30 seconds than I do in a month. But, quite frankly, it's about time somebody spoke up.

Companies like Google end up getting their rear ends handed to them by companies like Apple. It sounds a bit crazy hearing myself say that today, but let a few years pass and revisit the statement. If the writing was not already on the wall, Apple tagged it with indelible ink on Monday in downtown San Francisco.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

(Also read Apple Maps Shows Google Where to Shove It and With iOS 6, Apple Spawned a New Legion of Enemies.)

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