Will Apple Finally Take Out Google?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Is Apple (AAPL) going to eat Google's (GOOG) lunch?

While the iOS/Android battle has been playing out for multiple years now in the mobile marketplace (tablets and smartphones), could Apple be making a move to squeeze loyal Google users further into its own deep ecosystem?

Remember back in 2012, when Apple removed the YouTube app and Google Maps from its mobile devices? While they can still be downloaded through the App Store, the applications used to be on the home screen by default.

Consumers collectively booed the new Apple Maps, pointing to its errors and poor user interface. Although it has improved through multiple updates, it's still not perfect. But it's now obvious that back then, Apple was trying rid itself of the search engine giant.

Google Docs was one of the company's flagship services that many individuals and small businesses enjoyed using. It was fast, easy and most importantly, free to create, edit and share documents. You could work on spreadsheets and presentations from any computer, so long as it had an Internet connection.

Individuals could also share their projects with teams or classmates, making it extremely easy for anyone to edit, update or print the work from separate work stations. Now Google Docs has been incorporated into Google Drive, a similar service that offers slightly more options for use on the cloud. Essentially, it operates the same and, in fact, I'm writing this article in Google Drive.

But could Apple be trying to break up the online document monopoly? During its latest Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple revealed its new service, iWork. iWork, consisting of Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- which are equivalents of documents, spreadsheets and presentations -- are actually not new to the Mac world. However, coming this fall, their iCloud integration will be.

Previously, users could only access documents on their Apple devices through the cloud. So what's the difference? While it might seem like a small difference, it's actually quite large, or at least, could possibly be quite large. Allow me to explain.

Before, if I wrote an article on my iMac, it would update on my iPad via the cloud. Now I can work on my article on the go, for instance, at the subway or a cafe. But what if I don't have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch? Then there will no longer be any way to work on my article until I return home. Until now.

Assuming users are on one of the supported browsers -- Safari, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer -- they can create, edit and finish any of their documents from anywhere, so long as there is an Internet connection. The Internet-based iWork for iCloud now brings Apple users into a potential clash with their previous Google-powered workstations.

It is essentially the Apple version of Google Docs, something that many Apple users probably frequent.

So if Apple users are writing or working on Pages, Numbers or Keynote, why wouldn't they use it on the Internet-based cloud form? I assume that they would. That's not to say anything is wrong with Google Drive -- but by using Apple devices, it just becomes easier and makes quite a bit of sense. But is this just the start of things to come?

Google is the go-to for a lot of people, for a lot of different things. It's one of the top providers for search engines, email (Gmail), and productivity (Drive). But could Apple's move into the productivity space just be the beginning? What if it develops a strong and well-received emailing service that people enjoy and love, shifting further users from Google to Apple?

In technology, it's not farfetched to assume that today's king will be tomorrow's jester. After all, it wasn't that long ago that Hotmail and Yahoo! ( YHOO) were the top email services. Before that, AOL was the go-to for most users. So it's not really ignorant to consider that Apple, who has millions of users around the world and estimates of over half a billion by the end of 2017, could become the next Google for some of these services.

What's to say that Apple would stop at email? It is already taking a stab at productivity with iWork for iCloud, but if email was incorporated, Apple might become an overwhelmingly large part of consumers' everyday lives.

Then you look at all of the recent licensing deals the company is making to bring apps such as HBO Go and WatchESPN to users. The company is also in talks with Time Warner Cable ( TWC) to bring live streaming television into its suite of entertainment applications.

I'm sure HBO Go, WatchESPN and Time Warner Cable's content won't be the last either. Apple has enough cash to not only rope in more exclusive and lucrative deals than this, but could buy many of these companies outright if it wanted. With these deals some new form of Apple TV is looking more and more likely, in my opinion.

Combined with iTunes, Apple already has its own form of "On Demand," a feature touted by many of the large cable providers. With exclusive licensing deals, Apple might become the new go-to in the living room.

Devices such as the iPad and iPhone will also likely see new features. For instance, if you record a show using iTV, then perhaps you could watch it from anywhere with an Apple devices via the cloud. The possibilities are truly endless.

With an expected introduction of the iTV and an already announced iRadio, Apple will become a bigger part of consumers' everyday lives and the company -- as well as the stock price -- will begin to swell as a result.

Whether or not Apple willingly steps into the tech titans boxing match with Google, two things are certain: iWork is just the beginning and the consumer is the ultimate winner as these two duke it out to be number one.

At the time of publication the author was long AAPL.

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

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short-to-intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

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