Connected Nation: A Platform-by-Platform Best Practices Playbook
Apple: Apple makes a majority of its revenue on hardware. Turning the MacBook into a thin shell that you plug your iPhone into could potentially cannibalize the $5 billion to $7 billion in revenue that Apple makes on Mac products every quarter. This is why Apple has pursued an approach it's calling Continuity. The idea is to seamlessly transition your work or activity from one device to another — e.g., start writing an email on your iPhone and finish on your Mac, or browse a web page on your Mac and continue to view it on your iPad. Continuity also enables easy sharing of a phone's functions with a Mac, such as phone calls, text messages and an automatic hotspot for a Mac without a Wi-Fi connection. Powered by iCloud, this strategy further strengthens a consumer's dependence on Apple's family of products.
Another of Apple's advantages is a rich ecosystem of beautiful apps available to its users, which drives hardware sales. To enable those apps to work across platforms, Apple has focused on extensions. This feature allows apps to share data and widgets across both iOS and OS X.
Google: Google is a bit unique from Microsoft and Apple — it doesn't make a majority of its revenue from either hardware or software. Instead, advertising is its cash cow. And that advertising can live on any platform as long as you're consuming Google services.
To help further strengthen users reliance on Google, the company has invested in a range of hardware initiatives — Chromebooks, Nexus Android devices, Android TV, Chromecast, Nest and Google Fiber, to name a few. The most prominent example of an attempt to merge these platforms is the App Runtime for Chrome, or ARC. This system allows Android apps to run on Chrome OS (and unofficially on Windows, Mac and Linux).