FORTUNE -- Asymco's Horace Dediu on Tuesday posted an edited transcript of the part of his most recent Critical Path podcast in which he described Google's (GOOG) business model through an elaborate extended metaphor.
Think of the company, he suggested, as an enterprise that has strung nets across the mouth of the Mississippi and is trying to maximize the number of fish it catches by increasing the flow of water. To that end, it dredges river basins, redirects streams, knocks down existing dams, opposes new ones and seeds clouds to make it rain.
It's a lovely piece of work -- offered to get us beyond the view of Google as either good or evil -- and I encourage you to read it.
Among other things, it helps explain why the company is wiring whole cities with fiber, why it created Android and what the unintended consequences of giving it away might be -- such as allowing Facebook (FB) to lay down upstream nets with Facebook Home.
But it also raises the question of where Apple (AAPL) fits in. Several Asymco readers have tried to answer that with their own analogies: Apple is like an environmentalist, trying to keep the water clean. Apple is like a hatchery, trying to breed better fish. Apple as a manufacturer of sweeter-tasting fish food.
None of them quite work for me. Any ideas?
A "break even" line item is suddenly generating more than $2 billion in profits per year.
FORTUNE -- Most analysts skipped over it, but ever since January Asymco's Horace Dediu has been trying to wrap his mind around a change in the way Apple reports certain line items. For example, what used to be called "Other related music products and services" is now called "iTunes, Software and Services" and consolidates, for MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 25, 2013 7:25 AM ET
Horace Dediu puts his finger on the difference between Steve Jobs and Léo Apotheker
In a wide-ranging rumination that takes its starting point in 2001 -- when HP (HPQ) was courting Compaq and Apple (AAPL) was launching the iPod -- Horace Dediu's Critical Path podcast Tuesday touched on everything from Renaissance painting to the death of the HP TouchPad at the hands of CEO Léo Apotheker.
But for me the heart of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 24, 2011 10:29 AM ET
Using its pile of cash to become the single buyer that controls key high-tech supply chains
In two different forums, discussions about what to do about Apple's (AAPL) growing cash problem have come around to seeing things the way Steve Jobs and Tim Cook do.
Apple's problem, as Wall Street sees it, is not that the company has too little cash but too much -- $65.8 billion in liquid assets at the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 5, 2011 7:58 AM ET
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