At the close of the stock market on Wednesday, Apple s value as a company surpassed Google NSDQ: GOOG s. Apple s market capitalization reached $158.84 billion; Google s settled at $157.23 billion.
Silicon Valley tech gossip blog Valleywag predicted as much back in November 2007 based on the strong performance of Apple s iPhone and the fact a Google phone was nowhere to be seen.
Nine months later, there s still no Google Android phone on the market and Apple s iPhone 3G remains in short supply. Not only that, but Google has nothing yet that can challenge Apple s iTunes tollbooth.
Google has demonstrated its might as online advertising s middleman; it has yet to show that it can win the loyalty of phone buyers. And it needs to do just that, soon, before Apple s iPhone achieves the kind of dominance that its iPod has in the music player market.
Google doesn t yet have a diversified revenue stream like Apple does. And it still depends on the forbearance of Microsoft and Apple for distribution. It has user loyalty, but not much leverage, particularly where Internet browsers aren t involved. If users of computers and phones start leaning toward Internet-enabled apps like iTunes rather than browsers, Google will find it much harder to keep its foot in the door.
And that s the way Google s competitors will erode Google s position. They won t beat Google as a search engine. That ship has sailed. But what they can do is change the nature of the playing field. That s what Apple is doing.