This morning’s Observer column.
Despite their tender years, the boys who run Google have consistently shown a good grasp of military strategy, the first law of which is always to decline combat on territory dominated by your enemy and fight only on ground where you have the advantage. That’s why for years Google avoided getting into the PC operating system market – Microsoft’s fiefdom – and concentrated instead on search and networked services, where it was overwhelmingly dominant.
This also explains its mobile phone strategy. They recognise that the functional elegance of the iPhone comes from having total control of both the hardware and its software. This kind of integrated mastery, which is Apple’s stock-in-trade, would be difficult to acquire quickly, even for a company as smart as Google…
LATER: I was pondering writing a post expanding the claim in my column about why the iPhone is currently the superior, but I find that Dave Winer has done a much better job than I could. As usual.