I recently watched this TED presentation by Microsoft’s Balise Aguera y Arcas on Bing maps. It is amazing. However, what struck me was how ‘Apple like’ Bing’s map feature was relative to Google Maps. Similarly, Microsoft’s Zune OS and new Mobile Windows are far more Apple-like in look and feel than Google’s Android. All of them are engineering marvels but there is a clear strategic difference in the bets Apple-Microsoft and Google are making. Apple & Microsoft clearly think that, whatever gains Google is getting in terms of speed, are less important than look and feel aesthetics for the future. Google is betting that consumers won’t sacrifice speed for anything and want to push as far as possible on that dimension. Right now, I suspect Google’s placement is right given mobile bandwidths. But the question is whether, when the time comes that that is no longer the constraint, which approach will be able to morph into the optimal mix. I have no idea, I was just noting the clear difference and the millions being bet on different assumptions.