Comparing WWDC and Google I/O

I was lucky enough to have attended both WWDC and Google I/O this year. It was interesting comparing the two: There were clear cultural differences, differences in approaches and similarities in outcomes. Here are my thoughts:

1. You are lucky to be here vs Thanks for coming

It was quite clear to me that Apple considers me lucky to be able to attend WWDC. This was made obvious in several ways: Long, Long lines to get in, though it was well managed (and expected). The massive gift giving at Google (HTC Evo, Droid -what the heck were attendees supposed to do with 3 phones other than quickly sell two?)  vs the – oh wait, you were lucky enough to be standing in line to get into WWDC. All Google I/O sessions available to everyone vs very restricted distribution of WWDC sessions. The egalitarian $450 admission for I/O vs the $1600 for WWDC. Not to mention that after the two phone giveaways at I/O, you come out about $150 ahead, after some consultations with Craigslist.

Lunches at WWDC was quite horrible, compared to quite tolerable at I/O. (I am a vegetarian, so could not tell you much about the meat selections).

2. Slick and polished vs  Functional

No question, the presentations at WWDC were really polished. I was in awe. Presentations were incredible. So polished, so precise, so well put together and so well organized. I wonder how they rehearse them. I can’t remember a single incident where things did not go exactly to plan. Hats off to Apple engineers who did the presentations.

Not that the presentations at Google were bad. But they were what you’d expect a bunch of engineers to present. It totally lacked the polish. I think of Apple being a product management company, and Google being an engineering company. That explains the difference in presentations. Google could learn a thing or two from Apple here.

3. It’s HTML5 all the way, baby

Poor Adobe. Sorry buddy, but you’re so f’ed. All everyone at Google and Apple could talk about was HTML5. And it totally rocks. ( I will follow up with a post later on HTML5).

If you are doing web development, get on this bandwagon. This is one of those seminal events in technology. It has all the heavy hitters lined up behind it. Apple has put an extraordinary amount of effort into it, and the sessions on HTML5 were great at both I/O and WWDC. I preferred the Apple sessions just because of the additional polish in the presentations.

While the Adobe CEO was invited to the stage during the second day keynote, he got a very indifferent response. It was obvious to me – and I think most of the others – that Google was just inviting Adobe to the party to make noises about ‘openness’ not because they think flash has a future.

4. Baiting vs Ignoring

Vic Gundotra, the Google VP, was clearly going after Apple in his address with some nonsensical (IMO) talk about openness. Apple and Google have different business models, and they are executing to that. Some of the potshots were low blows, IMO. Jobs, and everyone else at WWDC, ignored Google for the most part – the feeling I got was that they were saying ‘eh? Android? What is that?’

5. Walk alone vs Partnerships

There was no partner pavilion at WWDC. I/O had a big one. WWDC is about Apple. I/O is about Google and friends

6. New friends and Old Enemies

Clearly, the Google vs Apple battle is now the new battle in town. The Microsoft vs Apple one is over. Apple spent a lot of time cozying upto Microsoft. Expect this partnership to deepen as they ally against their common enemy.

7. HTML5, again

This is where the enemies cross paths. Google and Apple clearly want HTML5 to win, and they work closely and deeply on advancing this. Safari 5 is pretty awesome, and a step ahead of chrome in HTML5 implementation.  Maybe Adobe can work on a nice implementation of an HTML5 editor


If Adobe is the clear loser with HTML5, Microsoft is going to get cleaned out in battle between the iPhone and Android devices. They should consider cutting their losses.

9. Focus, Focus, Focus

Apple made it very,very clear where they want developers to be: iPhone and iPad, XCode/iOS4 and HTML5. Thats it. forget MacOS. That is a sidenote. All the presentations were arranged accordingly.

On the other hand, I/O presented a smorgasbord of technologies, with no real underlying theme (well, maybe HTML5 & Android). Google Wave was still there . Buzz has a few sessions. There was even a session on engineering management. Huh? Please, attend the WWDC and understand how to run these.

10. The obvious

All the women at I/O were interviewed, as were all the women at WWDC. Both the ladies attending I/O and all three attending WWDC said they liked the sessions.

Did you attend either or both? Do you agree with my opinions? Let me know