Why does Google roll with Apple's punches?

You have to admire Google.  Things that get other companies riled up don't seem to upset the Search Goliath.  For instance, take the recent issues with Apple's App Store and the iPhone in general.

Google provides the maps engine for the iPhone for free.  They don't even get any recognition in the Maps.app that they are actual Google Maps and not Yahoo Maps (which I feel could be changed at any time - Apple's advantage).

Recently, Apple cited this Maps.app as the reason they couldn't allow the Google Latitude application into the App Store.  According to Google, the Latitude application got rejected because it would "confuse people who wanted to use the Maps. app.  What a load of horse....

But Google wasn't nasty about it.  Their only comment was:

We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles.

That wasn't the last application that Google put forward to get shot down by Cupertino.  This week it was revealed that Google submitted a native Google Voice application to be used on the iPhone.  Not only did it get rejected, but two other third party developers got their Google Voice applications pulled.  Google could have easily cried foul.  Their response

"Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users, for example by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers."

Now there is an FCC investigation into the matter.

Google's "turn the other cheek" attitude toward Apple extends beyond just  iPhone Applications.  When given the opportunity to copy the iPhone's multi-touch display like Palm and Blackberry are trying to do, Google opted not to ruffle any feathers.

Apple, which of course makes the signature multi-touch mobile device, the iPhone, apparently asked Google not to implement it, and Google agreed, an Android team member tells us.

That isn't playing for keeps, Google.  One has to question whether or not Apple and Google sharing Board members Eric Schmidt and Arthur Levinson has anything to do with it.  It seems an outright advantage to Apple if Google bows to their every whim.  Perhaps those two don't want to ruffle any more feathers at the DOJ either.

Or perhaps Google is playing hardball behind the scenes and just doesn't show the public face.

Whatever the case, Google doesn't seem to be too bothered by its treatment by Apple. 

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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