Along with many others I pay tribute to the amazing contributions that Steve Jobs and the people around him have made. There is little doubt that an innovative culture, which Apple represents today, can and will develop great products and services. However, let's take a step back and look at what history teaches us in this respect.
Companies come and companies go. What is the deciding factor that makes them great (i.e. valuable) long term? I've spent nine years looking into the subject of real long term success and truly believe that the first of three differentiators is this:
Company momentum!What does "company momentum mean? The short version; its ability to effectively grow public support and establish financial collaboration.
Apple is running fast, but with a limited number of people. On the other hand, with its current strategy and brand, Google openly includes any individual and company that would like to surf on their information platform. Google is not merely running fast. Google is flying!
Unless Apple evolves into "smarter openness" the company will eventually fall behind. You can have great ideas, but long term it's smarter to include more people to innovate value. Apple can fail only a few times, on its own. Google can fail many times, toghether with its ecosystem. Just consider the number of failures so far. It's staggering to witness how they quickly recover and just keep going.
If, however, a global financial crisis were to reduce the spending power of investors, then and only then, could Apple "win the race". But remember, we're not talking about who's currently leading the race or who has the most money. We're on the topic of long term success, and Google is definitely headed in the right direction. And, unless it updates its philosophy, Apple is not.
Example of 3rd party "Google innovation"