Skip: Hello everyone, this is Skip Montreux coming to you from Tokyo, Japan.
Dez: And my name is Dez Morgan, coming to you from the port city of Newcastle in the United Kingdom.
Skip: And you are listening to Down to Business English.
Dez: Welcome back everyone, are we ever glad you tuned in.
Skip: That is so true. The time has come to announce the winner of our Tell 2 Friends contest.
Dez: I can barely stand the excitement Skip. Some lucky listener is going to walk away from today’s show with an 8GB iPod Touch.
Skip: That’s right Dez. But you will just have to hang on to that excitement for a bit longer as we are not making the draw until the end of the show.
Dez: I’m really looking forward to it.
Skip: As am I. By the way Dez, how are you feeling? You sounded a bit under the weather the last time we spoke.
Dez: Thanks for asking Skip. I was suffering from a pretty bad cold when we recorded last. The climate is a lot colder up here in Newcastle and unfortunately, as soon as I arrived, I fell ill. I’m feeling fine now though, and interestingly the weather has been really good recently. My apologies to everyone if I sounded a bit rough in the last show.
Skip: No need to apologize. I thought you sounded quite debonair.
Dez: Well thanks Skip, I appreciate that. But back to the matter at hand. What is the focus of our show today?
Skip: Well, seeing as how we are going to be giving away an Apple iPod Touch, I thought it would be appropriate to report on some very interesting developments in the tech industry. Developments that involve Apple and that other tech behemoth, Google.
Dez: Google and Apple, now that sounds like a powerful combination of Tech companies. What’s happened, have they announced some type of joint venture?
Skip: Actually no. Quite the opposite in fact. It seems that the two companies are quickly viewing each other more and more as adversaries.
Dez: Really? I’ve always thought Apple and Google had an amicable relationship.
Skip: In the past, when Apple was strictly a computer company and Google was strictly an Internet search company- yes, that would have been an accurate analysis. In fact Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, was for a brief time, a member of Apple’s Board of Directors.
Dez: Is that right?
Skip: Yes. However, he eventually resigned as he was increasingly finding himself in conflict of interest situations.
Dez: Really? What conflicts did he face?
Skip: I will explain it in detail in the story but basically, as the Internet becomes more and more of a mobile platform, revenue models for traditional tech companies are being significantly altered. This is forcing companies like Apple and Google into conflicting markets.
Dez: Very interesting. I’m really looking forward to hearing all the details.
Skip: In that case, let’s get to it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Apple versus Google and their smartphone face off.
Dez: I’m very surprised that Apple and Google have become adversaries. They seem to me to offer very different, even complimentary types of products.
Skip: That’s true Dez. I am probably a good example of a typical Mac user who also heavily relies on Google products, such as gmail, google calendar, and google docs.
Dez: Also, both companies have an image of giving the customer great value and have a certain ‘coolness’.
Skip: I agree with that too. However, it’s important to point out that even though both companies have achieved similar levels of success in their areas, Google and Apple have very different business cultures.
Dez: Is that right? Can you talk about some of those differences?
Skip: Sure. If you look closely at Apple, you see a very closed and strictly controlled business environment. That is the hallmark of Apple and Steve Jobs. He believes that in order to create a high quality user experience, software developers must work within specific parameters.
Dez: And Google?
Skip: Google on the other hand has always pushed for openness. Being a search engine, the more open the Internet is, the more people will use it. And the more people using it, the more opportunity Google has to monetize search results and sell advertising.
Dez: Okay, so Apple is closed and Google is open. But they’re in completely different sectors of the tech industry aren’t they? How did they become adversaries?
Skip: To answer that, let’s go back in time a little bit. As different as the two companies are, five years ago, they did have one thing in common.
Dez: And that was?
Skip: The mutual nemesis of Microsoft.
Dez: Ahh Microsoft, the evil empire itself.
Skip: That’s a pretty good comparison actually. Microsoft was the evil empire, Apple a group of Jedi Knights, and Google….well maybe at that time could have been considered Ewoks.
Dez: May the force be with you Yoda.
Skip: The force with everyone be, Mr. Morgan.
Dez: Heaven help us. Okay, lets get back to the story. It’s obvious to me that Apple and Microsoft were competing in the computer software sector, but why were Microsoft and Google enemies?
Skip: That conflict was over software. Google docs, their online suite of word processing and spreadsheet software was considered by many a direct attack against Microsoft’s Office software: Word and Excel.
Dez: So Apple and Google joined together in an all out war against Microsoft?
Skip: Not exactly, but they held each other in high regard and did get involved in many ventures together. For example, Apple started to make Google the default search engine in its Safari browser application which came on all Apple computers and iPhones.
Dez: That must have helped.
Skip: Certainly. Also, when the iPhone was originally launched back in January of 2007, it came with a very limited number of applications. Each were designed by Apple engineers, however two of those apps were built around the products of another, very special company. I’ll give you one guess as to which company that was.
Dez: Google I assume?
Skip: That’s right. The original iPhone came bundled with an app for Google Maps and a You Tube app. If you didn’t know, You Tube is owned by Google.
Dez: I did know that actually.
Skip: Now, I mention the You Tube application because in order to play You Tube videos on an iPhone, Google had to go to the trouble of encoding each and every video on You Tube into the h.264 format, as the iPhone doesn’t play Flash video.
Dez: Okay, but you’re loosing me a bit there Skip. 264 what?
Skip: Sorry. I don’t mean to get too technical. The point I’m trying to make is that Google and Apple had to work very closely to make all of this happen. So at the point in time when the iPhone was launched, there obviously existed a strong relationship between the companies.
Dez: I see. And you’ve already mentioned that Google’s CEO was at one time a member of the Apple Board. Another sign of a strong partnership I guess.
Skip: Yes, in fact Eric Schmidt was on stage to help Steve Jobs unveil the original iPhone.
Dez: So when did things start souring between Apple and Google?
Skip: Eric Schmidt was appointed to Apple’s board in 2006 and the iPhone was launched in January 2007.
Dez: And at that time everything seemed rosy?
Skip: Pretty much, yes. But then in late 2007, Google announced that they were developing Android, a smart phone operating system that would be available to any cell phone manufacturer who wanted to use it.
Dez: Wasn’t that a slap in Apple’s face?
Skip: Not really. You have to keep in mind that at that time the iPhone was, and I guess still is, very much a niche market. In 2007 Google was more concerned with Microsoft releasing a similar OS and gaining a threshold in the mobile search sector.
Dez: So Android is more of a defense against Microsoft?
Skip: Yes, initially it was. But about a year after the iPhone’s launch something happened that changed the game completely.
Dez: And that was?
Skip: Steve Jobs, very uncharacteristically, bowed to pressure from the public and opened the iPhone to 3rd party software developers. Suddenly the iPhone was changing the Internet from something you used on you desktop to something you carried around with you in your pocket.
Dez: So the internet went mobile.
Dez: With more and more people using the internet from their phones, Google’s stake in being available on smart phones increased drastically.
Skip: Precisely. Suddenly, it wasn’t just a novelty for Google to have a couple of apps on the iPhone, it was a vital business strategy for them to go mobile.
Dez: But wouldn’t it make sense for Google to work closer with Apple then? I mean they’re not in the hardware business.
Skip: Sure, that’s true. In fact, Apple didn’t seem that bothered by the development of Android at first. But several other developments have transpired that have significantly added to the strain between the companies and the whole affair has started to get somewhat personal between Jobs and Schmidt.
Dez: And what were those events?
Skip: Okay well first of all, soon after Apple opened the iPhone to 3rd party software developers, literally hundreds of thousands of apps became available. Now remember, Apple being the closed type of platform it is, required each of those applications to be sold through the iTunes store and only after being approved by Apple.
Dez: And I assume that they would also take a cut.
Skip: Well, absolutely, but not only did they take a cut, they were also the last word on what could and couldn’t be sold.
Dez: I still don’t see how this affected their relationship with Google though.
Skip: Here’s what happened. Google submitted an app for its Google Voice service. And with this app, a user could make telephone calls for free over the internet. Now as you can imagine, AT&T, the exclusive mobile carrier in the U.S. of the iPhone felt very threatened by this.
Dez: Of course, people would be buying iPhones but not using them on AT&T’s network. So Apple, under pressure from AT&T didn’t allow the Google Voice app into iTunes?
Skip: They didn’t officially deny it but rather claimed that the app was in the review process. But that move really scared Google, as it showed them how dependent they were on Apple.
Dez: I see. So that prompted Google to invest more energy into their own phone OS?
Skip: That’s right. Google started releasing newer versions of the Android OS making it more competitive with the iPhone OS and offering it to more phone manufacturers. Then early this year Google introduced the Nexus 1, their very own Google branded handset.
Dez: Really, I didn’t know that and Mr. Jobs must not have been very happy at all.
Skip: Not in the least. Especially since the openness of the Android OS is quite attractive to third party software developers.
Dez: Has Apple done anything to counter this?
Skip: Yes. Not only has Apple taken Google to court over patent issues related to the technology Google is using in their Nexus phone, but back in January, Apple announced that they had acquired the online advertising company Quattro Wireless, which specializes in technology that targets advertising based on a mobile user’s internet behavior.
Dez: So what it all boils down to is Google, the internet search giant is now manufacturing and selling hardware and Apple, the computer company, is moving into the online advertising sector.
Skip: In a nutshell, yes. That is where things stand today.
Dez: Well this is most definitely an intriguing story that I am sure is nowhere close to coming to a close.
Skip: I agree, I think this may only be the opening chapter in fact.
Dez: But for now, it’s time for you and me Skip to get D2V….Down to Vocabulary.
Skip: Our first word today is face off. This expression comes from the great Canadian game of ice hockey. The face off happens at the start of each play. Players stands facing their counterpart on the other team. Then the referee drops the puck between the two center men and they each struggle to gain control of the puck. Oh it’s such a great game!
Dez: Sorry I’ve just woken up. So basically, a face off is when two parties fight for control over something?
Skip: Yes, that’s right Dez. In today’s story Apple and Google are fighting each other over the control over the smart phone market. They are facing off over smart phones. Can you give some other examples?
Dez: Yes, the Democratic party in the U.S is facing off against the Republicans in their midterm elections next month.
Skip: Great. Here’s another example; I am going to have to face off with my boss next week regarding some issues at work that I am not very happy about. I will present my arguments to him and then I will have to fight to make some changes.
Dez: Wow. Sounds really stressful.
Skip: A wee bit yes. Everyone, please notice that face off can be used as verb; to face off over something or against something, or as a noun; to have a face off with someone.
Dez: The next word today is adversary. An adversary is similar in meaning to the word enemy. There is a slight difference in connotation as an enemy is usually someone you immensely dislike. An adversary on the other hand is someone you are merely competing against. You might actually have a great deal of respect for them them and their abilities. Do have an example Skip?
Skip: Sure. I was depressed for a week after losing out on a promotion at work to my biggest adversary. But even though I was very disappointed, I have to admit that he outperformed me last quarter.
Dez: A very difficult task, no doubt. We should point out that adversary is also commonly used as an adjective as in; the adversarial atmosphere between the domestic and international sales departments may make for a stressful workplace, but it certainly results in an increase in sales.
Skip: Yes, sometimes a little tension can go a long way to boost performance.
Dez: True enough but if there is too much tension no one gets any work done.
Skip: Moving on, the next word today is the adjective amicable. When 2 people or organizations are amicable towards each other, it means that they are on friendly terms. For example, even though she broke my heart many, many years ago, I am on amicable terms with my ex-girlfriend from University.
Dez: That’s nice Skip but here is another example in more of a business context. Even if you don’t like a coworker, it’s important to try to be amicable towards them. It’s the professional thing to do.
Skip: Not only that, but as the old saying goes; keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.
Dez: I think someone has watched the Godfather movie one too many times.
Dez: Next is the phrase conflict of interest. This phrase is very specific to the business world. It means that a person is involved in two or more projects and the success of one of these projects could hurt the other. The ethical thing to do if you face a conflict of interest is to remove yourself from one of them. Can you illustrate this with an example please Skip?
Skip: Sure. One of the reasons cigarettes are so cheap here in Japan in comparison to the United States and Europe is that the Japanese Government is one of the biggest shareholders in JT, Japan Tobacco. Critics argue that this is a complete conflict of interest. How can the Government run the Ministry of Health while at the same time profit from the sale of cigarettes?
Dez: That certainly does sound like a conflict of interest.
Skip: Have you ever faced a conflict of interest Dez?
Dez: Yes as a matter of fact I have. A long time ago, I found myself in the difficult spot of being a judge in a speech contest. What I did not know when I accepted the position was that several of my University students were competing in the very same contest.
Skip: Oh dear. What did you do?
Dez: Well, obviously it would have been a conflict of interest for me to remain a judge so I had to inform the organizers and remove myself from the judge’s panel. Fortunately there was enough advanced notice and they were able to find a suitable replacement.
Skip: Well that was probably the best thing to do. Moving on, let’s look at the word hallmark. Literally speaking, a hallmark is an official marking that is stamped on ingots of precious metals, like gold or silver, to certify their purity. But it is most commonly used idiomatically. As an idiom, a hallmark is a unique or distinctive behavior that a person or organization is well known for. Dez, do you have any examples?
Dez: Yes, Michael Jackson’s Rhinestone glove and his moonwalk were hallmarks of his persona.
Skip: That’s an interesting example. Now we should also point out that a hallmark can also be used to describe a inanimate or non living object, such as a presentation or an event. For example, the hallmark of a good presentation is when the audience asks many questions afterwards.
Dez: Yes, that is most certainly true.
Skip: What’s the next word Dez?
Dez: Next up is the word parameter. Parameters are boundaries or limits that control something, usually technical in nature. In the story Skip uses it to talk about the technical limits set by Steve Jobs on the iPhone and the Mac operating system. Can you give a more general example Skip?
Skip: What immediately comes to mind is the rescue work underway in Chile at the moment. Mining engineers are working as fast as they can, within the parameters of modern mining technology, to get those 33 miners out.
Dez: Right, they would like to make faster progress but can only proceed within the limitations of the equipment they are using.
Skip: I do hope they get them out sooner rather than later. I’d now like to turn to the word monetize. This is the verb form of money. When you monetize something you are generating income from it.
Dez: For example, when Google bought You Tube a few years back they needed to figure out a way for them to make money out of it. If they had started charging users a fee, more than likely people would have stopped using it. Instead, they monetized it by placing related advertising into the videos.
Skip: Another example is how software developers monetize their products by offering 2 different versions. A free, light version that comes with limited functionality and a premium version that users, if they want more functionality, pay for.
Dez: I have a few applications like that. Next is the word nemesis. A nemesis is similar to an adversary, which I explained earlier. Like someone who is an adversary, a nemesis is also someone you are competing against.
Skip: But there is a difference in connotation isn’t there?
Dez: Yes there is. There is a difference in that someone who is your nemesis is your arch enemy and they have the ability to lead to your downfall. Adversary doesn’t convey that you are fighting for survival though.
Skip: That’s a big difference.
Dez: And another difference is that a nemesis doesn’t necessarily need to be a person. It can simply be the cause of your downfall. An adversary is usually a person or a group of people.
Skip: So an adversary is someone you fight against whereas a nemesis is someone or something that can destroy you.
Dez: Yes, that’s basically it.
Skip Now in today’s story, I mentioned that Microsoft was both Google and Apple’s nemesis. I could have said that Microsoft was their adversary, but since Apple at one point almost went bankrupt in the computer market, I chose nemesis. Can you give another example Dez?
Dez: It would be accurate to say that the nemesis of Western manufacturers is the cheap labor available in China and Southeast Asia. It’s hard for a textile factory in Germany to compete with a similar operation in China.
Skip: Nice. I could also say something like this: the weather was the construction crew’s nemesis. If they didn’t have to stop work due to the storm, they would have finished on time and under budget.
Dez: Good example. Let’s move on.
Dez: Next is the phrase to hold in high regard. I think this is easy enough to understand but perhaps the phrase is new to many of our listeners. When you hold someone in high regard, you have a great deal of respect for them. You can also use this phrase to refer to an organization. For example, I hold all my colleagues here in Newcastle in high regard. I really respect their hard work and professionalism.
Skip: Those are kind words. I too hold my coworkers, well most of them, in high regard.
Dez: Now, now be nice.
Skip: Okay. You know what I really hold in high regard?
Dez: No, please tell me.
Skip: I hold anyone who acquires a second or third language in high regard. It is something that takes a lot of stamina and determination and I really respect that.
Dez: I would have to agree with you there. Do we have another word today?
Skip: Yes, as a matter of fact we have one last word to deal with and that word is unveiled. This is a verb that comes from the noun veil. Dez, can you explain to everyone what a veil is?
Dez: Of course. A veil is a piece of cloth or canvas that is used to cover something. Imagine an artist who has just finished his or her most recent painting. It’s tradition for the artist to cover it with a veil and invite friends and fans to gather together and then dramatically uncover it for everyone to see for the first time.
Skip: Beautiful! You have just described what is known as an unveiling, and that kind of event is commonly held when a company releases a new product or model. For example, just last month there was an international car show in Paris at which many new models of cars were unveiled.
Dez: One of many highlights of the event was when Jaguar unveiled its gas turbine-powered hybrid super car, the C-X75.
Skip: I’ve seen of pictures of it. It really looks futuristic! Well that’s all the words and phrases we are going to look at today. As usual, I highly recommend listening to the story again to hear them in context.
Skip: The big moment has come to announce the winner of The Down to Business Tell 2 Friends contest.
Skip: Now, what I have done is I have taken each entry that we received and assigned them each a number. Some listeners have entered more than once so they have more than 1 number assigned to them.
Skip: And what I will get you to do Dez is at the end of the drum roll, I would like you to choose a number between 1 and 69.
Dez: There are 69 entries?
Skip: Actually, a few less as some people have entered more than once.
Dez: Those are very good odds then.
Skip: They are most excellent odds indeed! Okay, ready?
Dez: And the lucky number is…number 23
Skip: Number 23!! Okay let me look here, 23. Okay Mr. Daniel Estepa, congratulations, you are the proud owner of a new 8 GB iPod Touch!
Dez: Yes, Congratulations! So what will Daniel have to do to claim his prize?
Skip: Mr. Estepa, what I will do is as soon as this show is posted I will email you and ask for a mailing address. Get that to me and I will happily send you your iPod Touch.
Dez: Perfect. Thanks to everyone who entered and better luck next time!
Skip: That brings us to the end of another episode of Down to Business English. Please remember to visit our website where you can download the free audio script for today’s as well as all of our past episodes.
Dez: And that website address is www.downtobusinessenglish.com . Also, if you are on Facebook, feel free to join the Down to Business English Facebook Group. It’s a nice way to keep up with the show. And if Facebook isn’t your thing, you can follow us on Twitter.
Skip: Yes. One of our listeners suggested that you and I tweet useful business words and phrases a couple of time a day. I think that is a great idea and will be starting to regularly do that. You can find me at www.twitter.com/skipmontreux. That’s one word. s-k-i-p-m-o-n-t-r-e-u-x
Dez: And my Twitter name is dezmorgan again. That’s one word. And don’t forget that you can always reach us by good old fashion email at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you have a topic idea that you would like Skip and I to discuss we would love to hear from you.
Skip: Yes we would. Okay, thanks for listening everyone, see you next time.
Dez: Yes, thanks everyone and see you next time.