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from the L.A. Times

Rivalry escalates as Google takes aim at Apple

In a vivid illustration of the escalating war with its Silicon Valley rival, Google decided not to ignore the elephant in the room Thursday. Instead it took direct aim at Apple and fired -- again and again.

During a keynote address at the company's developers conference in San Francisco, Google's Vic Gundotra repeatedly took issue with Apple for trying to monopolize the mobile phone market, for walling off its products and platforms and for having hardware and software limitations.

Android, the Google software that powers a growing number of mobile phones, was created to keep Apple from having too much control over the market, Gundotra said. He did not mention Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs by name but said, "If we did not act, we faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier was the future. That's a future we don't want."

Other criticisms were strewn throughout the address. One example was demonstrations that highlighted iPad performance shortcomings, including "the lack of basic features such as multitasking." Another was Google touting itself as an advertising veteran that is open to working with thousands of advertisers rather than a handful of partners charging them $1 million apiece. Google also stressed the importance of openness, which includes allowing effective standards such as Flash. "It turns out that on the Internet, people use Flash," Gundotra said. "Part of being open means you are not exclusive with information, you are open to all.”

Google is also taking aim at Apple with its new offerings. It showed off an upcoming music service it will offer through Android that will allow users to store music and stream it to their phones, a move to counter Apple's popular iTunes music service.

-- Jessica Guynn

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