Phone Wars Heat Up

'Tis the season for rivalry, and the tech industry is no exception. Obama is using video game advertisements to bolster his campaign against McCain, who is fighting for fair use in his YouTube commercials. Today also marks the release of T-Mobile's G1. Not to be outdone or ignored by the news, Apple released its fourth quarter results, setting the stage for an upcoming mobile phone battle.

The biggest takeaway from Apple's announcement was that 6.9 million iPhones were sold in the fourth quarter alone, blasting past Research in Motion's sales numbers and confirming Apple as a very serious contender in the mobile market. The concurrent release of Apple's finances may just be a coincidence, or it may be that the company is fluffing its feathers in the face of rivalry, daring the G1 to best the iPhone's sales.

Though the G1 is expected to do well, earlier reports of 1.5 million preorders for the phone were debunked and the San Francisco release attracted a modest 150 people. The G1 is being hailed not as an iPhone-killer but as a serious competitor; its totally open-source app store threatens Apple's own, which until recently was locked down by an NDA that angered thousands of developers.

If Apple is indeed posturing against its newborn rival, the behavior falls in line with its increasingly aggressive ads. Two new anti-PC ads were released earlier this month mocking Microsoft's Vista advertising campaign. The ads come off as childish and irrelevant to consumers who aren't hip to, or don't care about, a software company's ad budget. Neither Apple's new ads, nor Microsoft's "I'm a PC" ads, actually sell anything, but rather dance around with knives like in Michael Jackson's "Bad" video.

It could be a good fight if and when Apple goes directly for the G1's throat. Does the G1 even stand a chance against Apple's sleek behemoth?

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