Will Steve Jobs’ final vendetta haunt Google?

“The depths of Jobs’ antipathy toward Google leaps out of Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Apple’s co-founder. The book goes on sale Monday, less than three weeks after Jobs’ long battle with pancreatic cancer culminated in his Oct. 5 death,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press. “The biography drips with Jobs’ vitriol as he discusses his belief that Google stole from Apple’s iPhone to build many of the features in Google’s Android software for rival phones.”

“It’s clear that the perceived theft represented an unforgiveable act of betrayal to Jobs, who had been a mentor to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and had welcomed Google’s CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, to be on Apple’s board,” Liedtke reports. “Jobs retaliated with a profane manifesto during a 2010 conversation with his chosen biographer. Isaacson wrote that he never saw Jobs angrier in any of their conversations, which covered a wide variety of emotional topics during a two-year period.”

“After equating Android to ‘grand theft’ of the iPhone, Jobs lobbed a series of grenades that may blow a hole in Google’s image as an innovative company on a crusade to make the world a better place,” Liedtke reports. “‘I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,’ Jobs told Isaacson. ‘I’m going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death because they know they are guilty.’ Jobs then used a crude word for defecation to describe Android and other products outside of search.”

“Although there’s no indication in the book that he ever forgave Google, Jobs set aside his disdain for the company long enough to counsel Page nine months ago, according to the biography,” Liedtke reports. “After Google’s Jan. 20 announcement that Page would replace Schmidt as CEO in April, Page called Jobs for some pointers. Jobs told Isaacson that his first instinct was to reject Page with a curt expletive, but he reconsidered as he recalled his times as a young entrepreneur listening to the advice of elder Silicon Valley statesmen including Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co.”

Liedtke reports, “Jobs didn’t mince words when Page arrived at Jobs’ Palo Alto home.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s Android in November 2007 — eleven months after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, but obviously too soon for Google to start taking iPhone ideas — can be seen here.

Look at Android today. It’s a bastardized, insecure iOS where even apps that carry the same name pale in comparison to their iOS counterparts.

Google loves to characterize Android as “open” and iOS and iPhone as “closed.” We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches. The first thing most of us think about when we heard the word “open” is Windows, which is available on a variety of devices. Unlike Windows, however, where most PCs have the same user interface and run the same apps, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user is left to figure it all out.”

Compare this with iPhone, where every handset works the same. Twitter client, TwitterDeck, recently launched their app for Android. They reported that they had to contend with more than a hundred different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets. The multiple hardware and software iterations presents developers with a daunting challenge. Many Android apps work only on selected Android handsets running selected Android versions. And this is for handsets that have been shipped less than 12 months ago. Compare this with iPhone, where there are two versions of the software, the current and the most recent predecessor to test against.

In addition to Google’s own app marketplace, Amazon, Verizon, and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. So, there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid.

This is going to be a mess for both users and developers.

Contrast this with Apple’s integrated App Store which offers users the easiest to use, largest App Store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone. Apple’s App Store has over three times as many apps as Google’s marketplace and offers developers one-stop shopping to get their apps to market easily and to get paid swiftly.

You know, even if Google were right and the real issue is ‘closed’ versus ‘open,’ it is worthwhile to remember that ‘open’ systems don’t always win. Take Microsoft’s “PlaysForSure” music strategy which used the PC model, which Android uses as well, of separating the software components from the hardware components. Even Microsoft finally abandoned this “open” strategy in favor of copying Apple’s integrated approach with their Zune player; unfortunately leaving with OEMs empty-handed in the process. Goolge flirted with this integrated approach with their Nexus One phone.

In reality, we think the ‘open’ vs. ‘closed’ argument is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue which is: What’s best for the customer? Fragmented versus integrated. We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. And, as you know, Apple strives for the integrated model so the user isn’t forced to be the systems integrator. We see tremendous value in having Apple, rather than our users, be the systems integrator.

We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google’s. When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform, rather than a hundred variants. They can put their time into innovative new features, rather than testing on hundreds of different handsets. So we are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as ‘closed,’ and we are confident that it’ll triumph over Google’s fragmented approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as “open.”Apple CEO Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Lynn Weiler” and “Ellis D” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011


  1. The sad thing is that even if the shit hits the fan for Google, the thieves are still filthy rich, and Steve is still gone. There is no fairness; there’s no justice.

    1. There is no fairness and no justice in this world. But that doesn’t mean that intelligent people have to swallow hogwash, or that Steve Jobs had to swallow the indignity of seeing Apple’s hard work stolen outright by a thieving competitor masquerading as a supportive ally. Steve called ’em like he saw ’em, and I’m with him. Although I have to say, if Larry Page had asked me for advice after pulling the stunt his company pulled, I would have told him to “KMA!”.

      1. Um, ah, you realize that Siri is a purchase….right? The company that built it is still producing software…….right? Improved versions…….right? Might search Dragon Go! – that’s who built it.

        Humorous @ best – Mr. Gates had it correct when he faced the vitrol – its ALL stolen so STFU.

  2. Google is just good at search and they should stick to that. They are no good at consumer products hardware or software. Android can either be their big thing or the one hat is going to sink them like the titanic. Only way they can get out of the android mess is to completely re write the os from the ground so as to get away from the clutches of oracle, apple and co. That should take a good 4-5 years. Not worth it.

      1. The funny part is Google keeps showing me ad’s of things that I just bought and am no longer in the market for. The poor people that keep paying good money to show me those ad’s don’t realize that their ad budget is a day late and a dollar short.

  3. Ugh. You know, I went to the link, to see if more of what might have been said to Page was there. There was a little bit “focus on what you want to be when you grow up”, etc., but then, smack dab in the middle of the article by this ‘writer’ were quotes and commentary from Rob Enderle. A little warning note next time MDN, if you please. No Enderle, no Dvorak and no Thurrot. Paraphrase the article – that’s what I want you to do so WE don’t click it if there is any of those folks quoted/written by. I don’t give page hits to those 3, and I try like heck to avoid hits to ‘writers’ that give them press time. I know you do a ‘Think before you clickTM’, if the inflamed a-hole is them…maybe another type of warning to let folks know this writer uses dubious sources for the article?

    1. Oddly enough Dvorak seems to have stopped most of his Apple bashing. He admitted a long time ago he just did it to get Apple fans riled up, I don’t think he ever really believed any of it.

      When Steve started getting sicker seemed to be when he stopped. I think he realized fun was fun but now it’s serious.

      The other two…well they’re just idiots.

    2. I clicked to read the original article and was horrified to see Rob Enderle quoted and no warning from MDN. Please protect us from his unintelligent ramblings.

  4. Google doesn’t do consumer phones and OSs they do advertising. Everythithey do is only done so they can increase their click through. Everything. Android only exists so they wouldn’t be dependent on the whims of other companies.

    Android sucks. My girlfriend has 2 androids down in Texas and they are completely different from eachother. The only two apps she has are Angry Birds and Facebbok. Neither worked on her current phone. You can’t even find a way to change the font. She only keeps her old phone so she can get her email via WiFi because the new one won’t retrieve it for some reason. Nothing I did worked and I used to be a sys admin. It’s beyond me. Her new phone is a Samsung. Go figure…

      1. It’s not her fault. None of the carriers with the iPhone are in her area. At least not with good reception (very small town). And all she needs it for is to make calls and Facebook. And I’m pretty sure she’s a helluva lot smarter than anyone who commented on this… dumbasses.

    1. Buck Owens once told Dwight Yoakam that radio wasn’t about music, it was about advertising. Same thing for Google. They are more like Madison Avenue than SIlicon Valley

  5. We’ll see how it plays out, but Google did steal just about everything it has from Apple.
    People talk about how great Android is on one hand, then how it sucks a moment later.
    THEN they say it how it is so much better than anything Apple puts out.

  6. I dont think any of it will matter. The only people who would not buy an Android phone based on jobs feeling cheated would have never bought one to begin with.

    What will haunt Google is the same as any company. Poor products and angry customers.

    To believe that everything in Android was stolen from Apple is as stupid as believing that Android is a unique OS with original ideas from google.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle.

    1. The truth is that Google was secretly developing its own smartphone while Eric Schmidt was serving on Apple’s board, where details of Apple’s ongoing iPhone development were undoubtedly shared. Whether or not people buy Google’s products is irrelevant to this issue. Whether or not Google stole everything from Apple is also irrelevant. In the real world, if you get caught stealing a diamond ring, the judge doesn’t let you off because you didn’t steal the whole store. Google is guilty of industrial espionage, plain and simple. The truth is right in front of your face, not “somewhere in the middle”. The ugly truth that no one wants to look at is that, as a society, our collective values have sunk to such a shockingly low level that we shrug off virtually every misdeed as though it doesn’t matter. Whether Google or Samsung succeed or fail, it is the American people who have failed since they obviously don’t care who steals what as long as they, the lucky consumers, get a cheap iPhone knockoff out of the deal. Pathetic.

      1. I dont think our values have changed that much. People as a whole have always bought according to what they percieve as a good value for various goods. At the consumer level you shouldn’t have to do patent research before you pick a product.

        I think at a business level we have cut our own throats with this belief in globalisation at the expense of national interests. We set up factories in other countries, teach them the tricks of our trades and then act shocked when the very people we supported are suddenly our new competitors.

      2. I think that just because you know something for a fact does not mean that Joe Bloke is going to have the same knowledge. Facts can be played with. If not, we would not have political parties or religion as we know it. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that people don’t know. I think that Jobs by publishing his biography will do more to expose Google for the thieves they are than any other new outlet. This thermonuclear quote will get around, and even people that don’t read the Steves bio will get it. In the end, perception trumps reality, again, that is why we have religion and political parties.

      3. Yes, thanks for the FACTS you’ve all given us. I’ll eagerly await the proof you’re obviously keeping in a safe place… where nobody can actually see it. Not to mention the fact that board members at multi-billion-dollar companies with tens of thousands of employees do NOT discuss or work with product-level details. Typical Apple stooges – Apple is perfect and has never done anything wrong, have they? Oh, but by YOUR own reckoning, they have. The company was created to build computers. Did Apple invent the computer? Or even the PC? No – they took the concepts of others – which other companies got to years and years before Apple was a gleam in the Steves’ eyes – and built their own version. If those companies had acted then as Apple does now – trying to stifle every competitor out of existence with lawsuits – Apple would never have gotten off the ground. And it seems odd to me that nobody disputes that Jobs took credit for many of his employees’ ideas. Yet THAT is the biggest betrayal of all. But I guess that’s okay with all of you, huh? Apple stooges are as big a bunch of self-serving hypocrites as the company itself.

    2. The truth may be in the middle but it only takes one valid patent to keep an Android phone out of any market that respects patents.

      If all valid iPhone and iPad patents that Apple holds are respected, Android, as you know it, will cease to exist.

    3. Where had Jobs (or anyone else here) mentioned (or even hinted) that “everything in Android was stolen from Apple?”

      This is what he said, a few years ago, in a private moment of rage: “I’m going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product.”

      Your adding “everything” out of the blue (without providing a reference) and then attacking/dismissing that misplaced notion, can be construed as attacking the straw man fallacy of logic.

      Your “the truth is somewhere in the middle,” in this particular context of Android’s alleged infringement of Apple’s IP, is as valid an observation as “the truth is out there” quip.

      I think, many of us Apple and Steve Jobs fans would rather wait for the legal opinion(s) of the court of laws to tell us whether the infringements were valid and actual (even if they are in the middle somewhere).

      Finally, hope you don’t take this as a rant, I liked some of your recent posts (particularly after Mr. Jobs’ passing). But silly things need to be pointed out before they get added to the great echo chambers of misinformation.

      1. I wasnt even thinking of the patent issues in my reply, more along the lines of public perception and product choice based on what is being published in the book. I should have pointed that out and that is my mistake.

        As to the patent issue i have always believed that theft occurred, its just my opinion that to date a few of the big “infringement” findings have been over trivial programming challenges with a lot of prior art (the whole hyperlink detection patent is a real joke imho).

        Its crossed my mind that it may be hard for apple to actually nail google for the exact things that were stolen so they have to throw a lot of things from different angles to get at least some justice.

        I dont deny jobs his anger one bit, ive been there myself albeit on a far smaller scale when some of my designs turned up in a partners product. It can instill real bitterness in a man if it eats at a person long enough.

        To be clear i dont think any of it will matter in the minds of the general public and their purchasing decisuons. I think the courts are a different story and the court findings in the end may well haunt google for a long time.

        Thanks for reading my posts about steve. Ive been a vocal critic and fan for years, maybe at times a bit too hard on the man ill admit but im only human.

        Steve’s passing has made me think a lot about the old saying “You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone”. I think a lot of people (including his competitirs) are still trying to fathom the void that has been left with his passing.

        I havent had a day go by where just using my mac has not made me think of him in some way. Thats a pretty powerful testimate to what he did with his time here.

    4. You really have to move on and get your head out of the 90s tech-sector mindset. You think and express thoughts on tech straight out of a dot.com level 1 help desk handbook.

  7. Though it happens often, a person (Schmidt here) never comes off well when they sit on the board of a company and know inside info then move to a similar company that starts selling a product that is similar to the place he left.


  8. The thermonuclear weapon that Steve Jobs promised Google will be Siri.

    Google depends on page clicks to earn its place as a one-trick pony. Everything that it does is centered on ads clicking. Every product that it gives out free leads to the ads money tree. To destroy Google is to cut the root of this evil tree.

    Siri is the sword hanging over the head of Google. If Siri can get information without a participant even seeing a pesky ads, that would be big trouble for Google. Google has seen early how Facebook could affect its ads business and it responds to kill off Facebook with its Google+’s impersonator. It too will try to kill off Siri but that would be a very foolish thing for Google to do. If it tries to be like Siri, it will cannibalize its ads-clicking model. That was why Andy Rubin was livid about what Siri could do to Google’s ads business. Whether Google tries to plagiarize the capability of Siri or not; both will lead to the same Shakespearean dilemma found in Hamlet: Google’s one-horse-pony ads business will be disadvantageously impacted.

    1. Very well said. That made the whole issue very clear. Jobs left Siri to do some (siri)ous business on Google. Google sometimes when you win you lose. Google you have been weighed, you have been measured and you have come up wanting.

  9. Sounds like you guys need a girlfriend. Maybe you could share one. Too bad the smart, good looking girls wouldn’t go for you. Way to make sense billyjackblack.

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