WPP Group’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell was the one who coined the term “froe” to describe Google. He said in 2008 that Google had gone from being a “frenemy” to a “froe” of the agency holding company. Presumably “froe” is a more direct competitor than a “frenemy”– at least that’s the implication.
Google and Apple started out as genuine friends, with overlapping board seats, and then seemed to gradually turn into sniping “froes.” But it now appears that they’re more like “frenemies” after all.
The two companies have apparently renewed their search deal regarding the iPhone, which was assumed to be in doubt as the “froe-mentum” built over the last year.
It kind of “crested” and broke when Apple announced that iPhone 4 would have Bing as a search option but not that Bing would be the “default” provider on the iPhone, as some had anticipated.
In a new Charlie Rose interview of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, appearing in BusinessWeek, Schmidt casually mentions that Google and Apple have “extended their deal”:
Apple is a company we both partner and compete with. We do a search deal with them, recently extended, and we’re doing all sorts of things in maps and things like that. So the sum of all this is that two large corporations, both of which are important, both of which I care a lot about, will [remain] pretty close.
Separately there’s a Wall Street Journal video interview with Eric Schmidt in which he says that neither Apple nor Facebook are competitors. “Our competitor is Bing,” explains Schmidt. Frenemies, indeed.
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