A friend of mine launched the bricks-and-mortar part of her cupcake business on this Valentine’s day. The brand, Mrs. Cupcake, is selling out of an Irish bar on Murray Street, near City Hall. Cupcakes and an Irish bar are an unusual combination, but one that seems to work. At least quite a few of the customers that day were intrigued enough by the combination to come in and comment about it. And those who tried the cupcakes, really liked them. But who doesn’t like cupcakes? Wouldn’t it be nice if other combinations worked together?
While cupcake induced happiness bloomed on Murray Street, I remained stranded in the dreary little neighborhood of mis-cooperation that lies between Microsoft and Google streets. Here you don’t get cupcakes, and you don’t get synergy between these two tech giants. In fact, they make it very clear that their interests are more important than your happiness. The battle over the “cloud”, and ownership of your data, is playing out on our phones. I just want to download my Outlook contacts to a MyTouch phone. My recently purchased T-Mobile 4G is impressive. Just the right size, with HD video, and a 1Ghz processor… very impressive. Importing contacts from the world’s most often used application should be a snap, right? Apparently not! I’ve called T-Moble, looked around their web site and checked out blogs and other independent websites for a hint. It can’t be done. Oh, you can buy a third party tool. Or convert your contacts to CSV format, get a GMAIL account, upload the data to GMAIL and then download it again to your phone (if you wanted GMAIL as your primary mail and repository of your contacts, this could be acceptable). Shouldn’t there be a single button option for this? It’s hard to imagine that any legitimate technology issue is at fault. We just have two big companies that don’t want to admit they are in a relationship that they need to make work better. These little frustrations with the Android won’t make you a bigger Microsoft or Google lover; it just gives you another reason to look wistfully at the i-Phone.
It’s just a small thing, something we can all work around, but it does offer a little insight about the upcoming battles we will see between Microsoft and Google. A bit of foot dragging here, a strategically missing tool there, and the continuing push to move everyone to my cloud, or my servers. Integration and competition have always been at odds, but Microsoft and Google have uniquely entrenched positions in our tech lives and are likely to push technology managers into making uniquely unhappy decisions. Perhaps by next Valentine’s day, Cupid will have worked his magic on this grumpy, but co-dependent couple. I’ll bring the cupcakes! And that’s my Niccolls worth for today!