Will Steve Jobs Make an Apple Product Announcement?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Last week, I saw a summary ValueWalk did of a blog article written by former Intel (INTC) VP Avram Miller. (If you have already seen Miller's post, skip to Page Two for his follow-up thoughts as well as my take). 

Here's the crux of one of the places Miller seems to think Apple (AAPL) could go:

Steve Jobs was livid when he learned about Google (GOOG) plans to use the Android operating system ... to compete with the iPhone ... Jobs began to realize that Google could become the next Microsoft (MSFT) which would have the same effect that the old Microsoft had on the pre-iPhone Apple ... Jobs realized that the only way to prevent that, was to put a dagger into the very heart of Google Search. So he started up the most secret project ever undertaken at Apple. The name of the project was Found. Less than four people knew about Found and not one of them was a board member. Jobs understood that Search was a very vulnerable area that had no stickiness other than possibly the brand behind it. That when users did a search, they just wanted the best results ...
On his death bed, or close to it, (Jobs) made Tim Cook ... promise to keep project Found going. By the summer of 2014, it was clear that the new search capability developed by Apple would revolutionize search. Apple began to get ready for the launch. They wanted a way to make sure that millions of people could use the new search capability on the day of the launch. This required that a few more people be brought into the fold so that Found could be rolled out in releases IOS (sic), OSX and iTunes. Of course, it was hard to keep such a project secret up to the announcement but Apple did its (sic) best. It provided a lot of cover. Many false stories were leaked with most focused on the use of Artificial Intelligence within Siri. While these stories were not far from the truth, they lacked a few key elements all of which were finally revealed publicly by Steve Jobs at a major event in Sept. 2015. Yes, I said Steve Jobs. This effort was so important to him that he pre-recorded the announcement before his death and instructed Tim Cook to use it ...
Ok, this was all made up or was it? You will have to wait for about 1 1/2 years to find out. In the mean time, one thing is now abundantly clear. Google failed at doing to Facebook (FB) what Apple did to Google in my story above. Google+ is a major failure as are many, if not most, of Googles efforts to break out of their dependency on Search ...
So there you have it. Google is caught between Steve Jobs (deceased but not dead) and Mark Zuckerberg.

That's nothing short of fantastical. Picture it in your minds eye. Rip and rage if you will, but it might prove more constructive to think about what you read along with me.

In the aftermath of his post, Miller admits the obvious -- he made it all up. And, to his credit, it wasn't as if he was ever trying to pass off what he wrote as real or definitive. (Though he subtly leaves that possibility open).

You can write Miller off as some flavor of eccentric freak -- he's pictured wearing a robe (or oversized towel) on a boat in the header of his blog -- or pay attention to his core thesis:

The points I was trying to make in my post where 1) Google is very vulnerable to someone like Apple entering the search business 2) Google does a mediocre job at doing almost anything, including search, so it was not be hard for Apple to do a better job and, 3) there is always a technology breakthrough and someone out there ... that will do to Google what Google did to other early search companies like Alta Vista, or Yahoo. I stand by all that.

And I agree with all that.

On one hand I respect Google's model. The strength of its core advertising business allows it to venture into other areas without much risk. Google can afford to flop in some spaces it enters or merely dabbles in, such as hardware. However, OTOH, this approach could -- someday -- backfire on Google.

Imagine if Apple -- or somebody else for that matter -- did search and did it better or even just as good as or slightly worse than Google. It wouldn't be like Yahoo! (YHOO) or Bing search, which just sort of exists. We know it's there. We take it for granted. It really doesn't matter. It would be an Apple or Facebook storming into the territory with their massive, built-in and relatively loyal user bases making a serious splash. (And Facebook's "graph search" doesn't count).

A serviceable (or better) search product from Apple could put serious hurt on Google, even if Apple didn't include an advertising component. If "iFound" became the default search engine for Apple's Safari browser in iOS and OS X that just means fewer clicks on Google's spam-like ads.

Imagine Apple launching iFound.com and promoting it heavily on primetime television, during sporting events, during the previews at the movie theater, on billboards in major cities ... you name it. It would represent an all-out assault that it appears Google would not be prepared to counter.

Given his pledge to declare thermonuclear war on Google and Android, it would be more than fitting for Steve Jobs to have recorded an introduction for iFound prior to his death. That might sound tasteless to you now, but the moment it actually went down at an Apple event, you -- and the rest of the world -- would, rightfully, fall in line calling it everything from "genius" to "poignant." 

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a full-time columnist for TheStreet. He lives in Santa Monica. Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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