August 16, 2006

Apple and Google in Denial

Sometimes in technology, the biggest news is no news at all - and the absence of something anticipated makes more noise than the debut of something unanticipated. Confused yet? Take a look at two separate announcements today from a pair of the most-scrutinized companies out there - Google and Apple, both of whom had to discount rumors that they had big plans in the works.

In the last few months, and especially so following Microsoft's pre-announcement of Zune, there has been a hotbed of discussion around the possibility that Apple would be adding wireless capabilities to their incredibly popular iPod lineup. While Microsoft has recently dialed back expectations on Zune's wireless capabilities, rumormongers have discovered patents from Apple that would indicate the company is looking to add wireless, even if just for synchronizing away from the host computer. In fact, one report said that Apple had dispatched company representatives to Asia to help train people on the music players new features.

Turns out that's a bunch of hooey, if Apple's denial of that news today is true. The company took the unusual step of commenting on rumors by denouncing them outright. This could be a typical Apple ploy to downplay expectations, but if they were to consistently lie to reporters and customers, that would be a very poor PR move, and I don't expect that's the goal here.

In parallel, Google recently announced that they had enabled wireless Internet access for the search engine's home community of Mountain View, California. Given their interest, everyone expected the next move for Google was to debut a nationwide wireless network under the Google brand. But, as with many dreams, it appears that it too will not come true. Just as Apple did, Google said they have no plans for national Wi-Fi service, despite efforts in Mountain View and San Francisco. They said that the goals were to demonstrate the "value of competition" in providing Internet access, and to experiment with new business ideas. 

So, while other companies would salivate the opportunity to get press and fans talking about what they are doing, Google and Apple are going out of their way to slow down the discussions. Maybe they're hiding secrets up their sleeves, and maybe it all depends on what the definition of "is" is. We'll all wait and see.

Listening to ''Sandstorm'', by Pete Tong (Play Count: 3)