Both Google and Apple are developing systems to control the actions on your car dashboard, ranging from navigation to communication to music applications through cloud computing.
The two tech giants once were allies, with Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt serving on Apple's board of directors, but no more. And now their battle is spreading to new terrain.
"After years of being treated as an interesting side business, autos have become the latest obsession for Silicon Valley, with Apple assigning about 200 people to work on electric vehicle technology and Google saying it envisions the public using driverless cars within five years," write Aaron Kessler and Brian Chen of The New York Times.
This raises concern about distracted drivers. Driving fatalities while texting on cell phones already represents a substantial problem.
Both Apple and Google say their systems are designed to increase safety.
"We looked at what people do with their phones in the car, and it was scary," Andrew Brenner, lead project manager on Google’s Android Auto team, told The Times. "You want to say to them, ‘Yikes, no, don’t do that.’"
As for the two companies' stocks, Morningstar analyst Rick Summers puts Google's fair value at $600. It traded at $531.96 Monday afternoon.
"With a dominant Internet search product as its foundation, Google has built an impressive portfolio that individuals use frequently, beyond search," he writes on Morningstar.com.
"These new products allow advertisers to reach out to potential customers multiple times, in multiple ways. . . . The firm's success in products such as Gmail, the Chrome browser and Google Maps provides a cohesive experience for users and helps Google show more relevant ads."
Meanwhile, Apple shares have returned a whopping 73 percent over the last year, and the party is hardly over, says Jack Hough of Barron's.
"Look for the stock price to rise to $160 over the next year for a 25 percent return including dividends," he writes. "Expect a big dividend hike when the company updates its capital-return program, likely in April. The current yield looks undersized at 1.5 percent."
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