Irrational Google exuberance

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This week’s announcement that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was joining Apple’s board of directors has set off a wave of speculation that this is part of some bigger alliance between the Silicon Valley companies - not only are many in the blogosphere postulating big things, but today’s New York Times weighs in (registration required) as well.

“There are many possibilities for a complementary strategy between their companies. This week, for example, Google announced that it was beginning to weave together a number of services that could be a Web-based competitor to Microsoft Office. And Mr. Jobs has skillfully driven a wedge into the dominant PC computing standard established by Microsoft’s Windows software and Intel’s hardware - the so-called Wintel alliance - by recently adopting Intel’s processor for Apple’s Macintosh computers.”

While it’s nice to believe that Apple and Google will join forces in deeper ways as a unified front against the (in my opinion, overblown) hegemony of Microsoft, it’s a bit premature to pin the corsage on the bride. After all, Intuit’s Bill Campbell has been on Apple’s board for more than seven years, and that fact still hasn’t gotten us a version of QuickBooks or Quicken that are at the level of functionality of their Windows counterparts. (To be fair to Intuit, they do get closer with each revision; maybe we will only have to wait three years for the “essential” Google Pack.)

Could something happen? Absolutely, but only if it works in a global sense for Google; they aren’t going to change their worldview tomorrow just because Schmidt sits on Apple’s board.

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