Scribe of flavorless Steve Jobs biography thinks Google is ‘more innovative’ than Apple because Google bought a thermostat company

“The greatest innovator in the world right now is Google — not Apple, said Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography “Steve Jobs,” Matthew J. Belvedere reports for CNBC. “Case in point—he told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Wednesday: Google buying Nest Labs is a bigger development than Apple selling iPhones on China Mobile’s network.”

“The Nest portfolio of smart thermostats and fire detectors will be added to Google’s gee-whiz tool shed of giant robots, self-driving cars and Google Glass,” Belvedere reports. “Isaacson also pointed out that Nest co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell will be joining Google as part of this deal. ‘Fadell was one of the team that created the iPod. He was very deep into the Apple culture… when Apple was so innovative.'”


Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
The greatest innovation in the world today is coming from Google. – Walter Isaacson

“To play catch-up, Cook has to think about what industry he wants to disrupt next, Isaacson said,” Belvedere reports. “‘I think Steve Jobs would have wanted as the next disruptive thing to either have wearable-like watches or TV, an easy TV that you can walk into the room and say put on ‘Squawk Box’ … or disrupt the digital camera industry or disrupt textbooks.'”

Read more in the full article here.


MacDailyNews Take: Anyone who can take a raging ball of fire like Steve Jobs and reduce his life to a bland cardboard cutout harbors some, er… special skills. As with passionate, interesting writing, judging companies’ levels of innovation isn’t one of Isaacson’s talents, either.

Go back to your day job, Walter. You know, churning out mind-numbing, by-the-numbers pablum that nobody* can finish without massive amounts of willpower and Red Bull.

Stop posing on TV as an Apple expert, or any sort of tech business expert, because totally blowing it by squatting out an interminable doorstop after being handed the biography subject of the century only makes you an expert in one thing: Failure.

After 630-pages that we never thought would end, we know you love facts, so here are a couple: You’re as much of an Apple/technology expert as any random fscktard off the street, you insipid milker, and your book was only a bestseller because it had Steve Jobs name and face on the cover, not because of you, Mr. Soporific.

And, CNBC, what’s next, analysis of the pharmaceutical industry by Patrick Dempsey?

*Having a bit more than a passing interest in Steve Jobs, even we could barely make it though Walter’s God-awful Steve Jobs textbook! No wonder Sorkin promptly threw it in the trash and started over from scratch.


    1. One can only suppose by dint of this hypothesis that al the trolling LLC companies are more innovative than the current crop of tech companies as mentioned above.
      My conclusion is that the fee for Steve Jobs autobiography is nearly spent and the man doth seek another paycheck from some gullible fool such as the media. What would they know about tech after decades of feeding off an anal ysts trough?
      Crap all!!!

    2. Yes! 100%. I could NOT force my way through it.

      I wanted to! It was STEVE! I plodded on – and on – through page after page of banal pablum, TOTALLY devoid of any insight. The man described could have been any one of a throng of mediocre mid-level execs. Zero insight into what made Steve special. Eventually, about halfway through, I had to give up.

      And this guy presumes to pontificate on Apple’s level of innovation!

      1. @ John Smith,
        I had exactly the same experience with Isaacson’s book on Steve. At first I thought it was me. Glad to hear that you, MDN, and others had the same experience.
        Also I don’t understand how buying Nest for way more than it is worth makes Google innovative? I can understand that it makes Google a sucker, or ill advised, but innovative? I’m still scratching my head on that one.

        1. It’s still laying on the stand by my bedside, the bookmark stuck at about page 200. I may finish it someday out of sheer stubbornness or for research purposes, but I doubt it. The most fascinating subject in the last 100 years and he somehow made it pedestrian and boring. It’s not that I don’t appreciate in depth, complex writing. I made it through most of what Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell have ever written. I read “Dahlgren” by Samuel R. Delaney, for God’s sake, all 800 pages of timeless nothingness, and yet this guy puts me to sleep. How he has somehow become an expert on Jobs and Apple is beyond me.

      2. My issues with Isaacsson are very concrete:

        1) few of the most controversial biography facts are left without Steven’s input whatsoever. Readers just supposed to take whatever third-party claims and think that this is what has happened;

        2) at times where Isaacsson did have a word from Steve, the writing always played it out that way that he was lying, while the opponent party’s claims were true, even though no facts were presented to support that. As if the only person who could have an agenda or otherwise erroneous recollecting events was Jobs, what is ridiculous;

        3) significant parts of Jobs’ personality were cut out and thrown away, leaving cartoonish black-and-white image of “evil genius”. You could learn many stories on how Jobs was not that cardboard only from memoir articles, but not from the book;

        4) the book was also simply half year earlier than it was planned, and it is obvious.

      3. I found the biography was like a horrible B&W photocopy of a beautiful photograph.

        My biggest issue reading it was the unwillingness to challenge many of the negative anecdotes about Steve, when there was ample evidence on record that disproved them. It’s as though Isaacson was so terrified of being accused of favoring Steve, that he basically gave free pass to anyone to denigrate him groundlessly.

        The bio was a great resource for me, writing Anatomy of an Apple – The lessons Steve Taught Us, only for Steve’s direct words.

        If anyone here would like an enjoyable book about Steve (in exchange for an honest posted review), email me directly at

    3. innovation, Google-style:

      Credited thermostat inventors:
      -Warren Johnson in 1883
      -Albert Buzz in 1885
      -Cornelius Drebbel in the early 17th century
      -Sir Edmond Halley

      ooh, it’s connected to the internet. Amazing.

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more. What a crock this ‘google innovated!’ is.

        Everything Apple does gets dismissed as ‘itineration’, yet google does basically nothing other than buy an existing product and company making an old product with a slight new twist and it’s sliced bread all over again…

        1. I don’t think Google does basically nothing. Even Android brings some innovative features, like an app permission system that lets users know what apps are gonna do on their phones, Android KiKat’s smart dialer, Android Beam, Google Now(named innovation of the year), PhotoSpheres, installing apps on your phone from anywhere using the web(that was like magic when I first tried it), and its thoughtful notification system, which Apple has tried to mimic but has not matched. Android had voice actions and video calls on a mobile device first. It has also been documented that Apple was using Android’s pattern password internally. Google also has countless patents related to data centers. No one does data centers like them.
          And how about Google Drive, which is different than other cloud storage services because it acts more like an actual hard drive. Instead of you just uploading your stuff to it, applications can actually use your Google Drive as storage and save data straight to it. And let’s say you want to download an image to your computer. You can instead “download” it straight to your Google Drive. You don’t have to download it to your hard drive then upload it to Drive.
          Google also works on machine learning and AI, new forms of authentication like electronic tattoos and swallowable pills, quantum computing,and next-generation programming languages to change how people build programs. How about the open source codecs VP8 and 9, the Open Automotive Alliance, the Knowledge Graph, Street View and Google Maps itself, smarter search algorithms and semantic search, Chrome OS and the Chrome browser itself, Gmail and features like Undo-send, which is very useful, and also categorized e-mail. I cannot go back to the old cluttered view anymore. Recently Google announced the glucose measuring contact lenses. Other companies had them, but Google is working to make them a reality. Hangouts-on-Air is also notable. Back then, they even had a program to manage your home and energy, kind of like what is happening now. They are pioneers. For example, the model of cutting the US carrier and selling phones unlocked directly to customers online. How about their product Helpouts, which allows you to offer help to people in need in the subjects that you know best. Or how about their app One Today, which offers a new way of donating to charity. Not to mention Calico and their moonshot goal of extending human lives by 100 years and improving the quality of life during old age. Every few days I look to the news and Google is always doing something new. I look at the news for Apple and its a bore-fest.

          1. I forgot the obvious innovations like driverless cars, Chromecast, Google Glass, and balloon Internet. Apple hasn’t really innovated since the iPad. Heck, even the iPad is just a big iPhone and the iPod Touch is just a crippled iPhone.

          2. borefest?!

            1. so you think your gorgeous Goo-List of innovations are real innovations?
            a. CHEAP: it’s mostly gimmicks, like bells & whistles on Samsung-droid phones
            b. UNDESERVING: Goo does not innovate, they buy ideas, then bastardize/dilute them like the horribly basic & unaesthetic anemic unpleasant Google Docs/Drive: their code solutions always resemble 1970s DOS

            2. CHANCE:
            Goo biz is not serious, it’s a joke, it’s an attitude, not a plan.
            Goo Search Engine started 1998.
            After 15 years now, they are still dependent 97% on Search/Ads.
            Yet they waste tons of resources on 1000s of lab experiments and buy more firms than anyone on the planet – one firm per week!
            After 15 years, what do they have to show for it? where’s all the LASTING innovations? None except Ads are profitable! The rest disappear into oblivion. Like Google Glass – they go about it stupidly: why wear such horribly obvious tech, when it can be transparently part of clothes? I can list most inventions/innovations you say they made and make it look ridiculously implemented.

            Goo hopes to hit a hit amongst 1000 experiments, but has not real goal, sound foundation for planning or future. Apple is the opposite. Apple plans with precision and confidence.

            Apple does not depend on hype but takes its time to develop innovative concepts. Once they have a hit, they keep perfecting it. competitors steal R&D, then do disposable product development. Apple in between product concepts, takes its time before it launches incomplete products, as reaching simple essence or sophistication is not simpleton but requires much thought. yes, you can mention Maps or Siri but they were hyped by competition that bribed the media to be downgraded, and they were betas!, and Google Maps etc. when first out also had its glitches, not to mention glitches after Apple Maps/Siri too! Now Maps/Siri are stable & better.

            Goo biz is haphazard.
            Apple biz is consistent.

            3. QUALITY:
            Apple beats everyone in quality customer service.
            in hardware & software.
            Apple does not dilute just to get products out faster or color them with gimmickry.
            Apple does not need to prove itself to you.

            4. VISION:
            nothing still excites more than new Apple launches. 2014 promises to launch entirely new product category never seen before.

            what’s the boring competition doing?!
            what is exciting from the CES 2014-01 show?! just re-inventions or slight improvements on past tech.
            but what’s really new & unboring?
            once Apple launches yet another category, you’ll see how the competition will claim they invented it (though they never launched it), that they can do it better than Apple (though why did they not do it first). Copying will start. then they hype the public/media to bitch that Apple is unfair in suing. it’s a vicious stupid cycle just because they are
            a. too flummoxed
            b. too lazy to Think Different
            c. too cheap to spend on R&D

            those who think Apple has no vision left, just because they spend last 3 years since iPad launch only evolving the tech, will be all the more surprised when Apple launches new categories this year.
            it suits Apple well, since everyone will spend time catching up – again!

            who cares for the little bells & whistles in between.
            Apple changes the main course.
            Apple influences all industries.
            Apple does most of the effort.
            Everyone waits for Apple before they innovate.
            Apple has a longer than 5-year plan from Steve Jobs. That would take its visions beyond 2015.
            Thereafter, Apple is full of talent and can plan without Steve. Jony Ive is not the world’s most brilliant industrial designer/engineer for no reason.

            Apple is boring?
            Give me a break.
            you seem to have as little patience in between life/culture-changing innovations, as ADD kids, who can not wait for the next thing like an addiction,
            without patience to appreciate solutions that simply work, without headache, viruses, crashes, inconsistencies, cheapness, disposability, complications etc.

            Apple boring?
            Apple does not bow to hype and lies of competitors: NFC?! it flopped!
            So why was Apple wrong to not use it in iPhone?!
            Who cares if other phones have NFC if it depends on commercial application/compatibility – and no one ever implemented it for it to be practical!
            Apple instead invented iBeacon! Apple does not wait for standards, they redefine or change standards, so consumers do not have to wait for high tech!! so how dare you say Apple is boring.
            iBeacon is already being implemented in US chains.
            iBeacon is much more flexible, extensive, practical than NFC tech.

            i could go on & on about other Apple vision that are un-boring.
            but you need more patience.
            you have no vision to see it.
            you are strictly dry like an engineer who has no sense for aesthetics or creative visualization & can’t appreciate the nuances of life, only numbers, like a robot without soul.

            Apple competition is flummoxed.
            let them cry over spilled milk.
            let them catch up after 2014 Apple launches.
            let them match Apple customer care.
            let them match Apple quality. consistency. beauty.
            let them…

            if you’re too stubborn to see it.
            it’s not Apple’s problem. nor its fans.
            Apple has enough followers.
            Apple does not claim to invent, just improve.
            Apple fans are not fanatic & don’t preach. they are quiet. they just get pissed when lies are spread.
            stop spreading FUDD, stop your Stockholm Syndrome. stop lying.
            get a life. have some vision. seek a soul.

            1. aapl did very well in stock yesterday! it beat all records on all products, except iPhone.

              since Analysts are always Anal-ysts that never understand Apple, and it has been proven over & over in articles, they again miss the point of AAPL. Apple is amongst the only American tech firms in the Black and has plenty of new stuff coming up, plus the China Mobile deal just started, just wait for the #s next Q.

              anyway, who cares how they analyze AAPL, Apple its here to stay, buyers love it more than any other co., and Apple will always flummox competitors…

            2. Fact: Even though Apple customer satisfaction has gone up, Apple is now 5th place in customer satisfaction. They have been surpassed by Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and Amazon. So that means:
              a) Buyers DO NOT love it more than any other co.
              b) Apple will not always flummox competitors. That is not true because of many things.

          3. Very thoughtful remarks. I quite agree Google is the bigger innovator. although Apple makes nice gadgets, there is no way that they are worth the 30% premium the command, at least not the way android OEM’s are making good devices now.

  1. As a longtime reader, I firmly believe that the writer of the MacDailyNews Take could have written a better Steve Jobs biography than Isaacson’s in a weekend. It would have been more entertaining and fun to read, that’s for sure.

  2. Nest is not a Thermostat company- it is a company working in the fast moving areas of home automation and the Internet of things (net connected devices). Mr Fadell is listed on over 300 patents related to such things- not just Thermostats and they could prove to be very valuable.

    Just a few years ago people thought of the Apple store as a place to buy a Macintosh Computer. Most everything that has followed has been developed from OS X- including iOS and the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV that have followed. Technologies developed for OS X have served Apple well as they have branched and built upon the technologies developed for OS X.

    Jeebus, people.

      1. i got it, it just shows that the commenter is either a:

        1 Tool
        2 Fanboi
        3 Someone who does not get how big home automation will be.
        4 Willfully ignorant in search of profit.

        Kind of like the detractors that dismissed the smart phone because all they had seen was a Windows Phone or a BlackBerry

            1. WTF does that mean? Comments like that make Isaacson look good. I’m not impressed by Google glass or this purchase, but what I do know, and find disturbing, is the rigidity of some people’s conservative ideologies here, where Apple can do no wrong (except iOS 7) and Obama or most Democrats can do no wrong. A site that glorifies the Turd called Limbaugh. Really, really, really hurt credibility. Now Isaacson’s book sucks? He defended Jobs every step of the way while promoting it. I personally think and hope that Google will go too far and self-destruct: who wants them in their home? Also, if you really want to get pissed off, read the book by Steve’s first wife- Lisa’s mother. I dare you to make it from front to back.

        1. Darwin: you’re making the mistake on this board of either a) saying something that isn’t good about Apple; or b) saying something that is good about a company other than Apple.

          I’m an Apple shareholder and have been since the early 2000s. I’ve used Macs since 1991 and there I don’t have a tech device not made by Apple if Apple makes such a device. But when I’ve dared to suggest that something Apple has made or done wasn’t most excellent or the best in the world I’ve been accused of being a Microsoft shill, a Samsung fandroid, a communist, ignorant and/or a lot of other unsavory things.

          Having a balanced perspective is something that is not appreciated on this board.

    1. That’s right. Not just thermostats also smoke alarms. Every home and apartment is required to have a smoke alarm, so we’re talking at least a billion of Android-powered smart smoke alarms. Google is going to be rich. Although it’s odd Nest Labs wasn’t making very much money at all. Google just has to figure how they can push ads to a smoke alarm.

      1. Apple was not making much in 2001, either.

        I bought shares in Apple for less than $10/share which would be a split adjusted less than $5/share.

        Seeing OS X is what made me buy. It was rough around the edges but got very good quickly.

            Dec 3, 2001 21.06 24.03 20.09 21.90
            Nov 1, 2001 17.65 21.55 17.25 21.30
            Oct 1, 2001 15.49 19.42 14.83 17.56
            Sep 4, 2001 18.50 19.08 14.68 15.51
            Aug 1, 2001 19.01 19.90 17.28 18.55
            Jul 2, 2001 23.64 25.22 17.85 18.79
            Jun 1, 2001 20.13 25.10 19.35 23.25
            May 1, 2001 25.41 26.70 19.30 19.95
            Apr 2, 2001 22.09 27.12 18.75 25.49
            Mar 1, 2001 17.81 23.75 17.19 22.07
            Feb 1, 2001 20.69 21.94 18.00 18.25
            Jan 2, 2001 14.88 22.50 14.44 21.62

          2. Actually, the split adjusted price twas just under $10 in 2001. And I know that because I am looking at my e-Trade statement and it says my basis on a block of September 2001 AAPL stock is $9.61 a share.

            Of course, botvinnik – who prefers his own opinion to facts and reality – will call me an expletive-laced insult and, without offering any evidence, claim that he is still right.

            1. “If you can believe it, adjusted for a 2005 stock split Apple shares were trading at around $9 in the days after 9/11”

              Quote from MarketWatch article linked above.
              The car I drive was bought with Apple stock bought in 2001 that I sold at $404/share. Unless, I am mistaken the car is for real.

            2. you quoted ’s stock price at under ten dollars a share in 2001, according to data from the New York Stock Exchange, that never occurred. Look, you just got called out on your bullshit, be a man, accept it and move on.

        1. what is Aapl innovation since Jobs died? OS X WAS good. But its tired and needs a refresh. Apple was very innovative. Future innovation seems less likely.

    2. I’d suggest you go check the Honeywell web site. Except that their’s are not Flash Gordon design crazy, they have units that match and beat Next in functionality. And do not sell short their reputation with contractors – a huge plus. Keep in mind, Google has only one reason to have bought Next – to develop product that will allow them to sell more ads. It is not about home automation – it is about ads. Just like YouTube is not about providing video entertainment – it is about selling ads. And they can get increased margins for those ads when they know more about you. So if they have the ability to monitor your life style on a more micro level, thus provide you with more focused ads, they make more money. Connect the dots!

    3. And Fadell has already been quoted as saying that it’ll be at least a decade, possibly more, before there’s any kind of ubiquitous home connectivity, and the vast majority of people just don’t care if they can turn their coffee machine on before they get home, it’s just not important.

    4. If Apple really wants to go after the home automation market, they don’t need some other company to show them the way. Apple could take 3.2 billion dollars and blow them out of the water with an even more innovative, better product. The guys at Nest are laughing all the way to the bank. There’s a reason for ex-Apple employees, and it’s not because they were doing such a wonderful job there. Can’t imagine what Apple would end up with if they spent that amount on an R&D project, but I bet it would blow Nest out of the water.

  3. Whatever credit Google deserves for innovation, it isn’t for simply purchasing innovations of others. If Nest products end up doing something great that they could not have done without Google – only then should Google get any credit for innovation regarding Nest.

    TLDR – Buying an innovative company is not an innovation.

    1. Exactly . Further, using the comparison of purchasing Nest vs China telecom deal as an arbiter of innovation is pretty silly. Apple would not hold out the deal with a China telecom as an example of innovation – it is simply expanding the market for one of their products.

  4. I guess the definition of innovation has changed. I buy products other people create all the time. I didn’t help create the product, i provided no input on the product. But I guess that makes me an innovator now.

    1. For that matter, I’m also glad I got a “smart” home thermostat with my new alarm system and passed on the Nest.

      Wanted one. But that was then, and this is now. They’ve gone to the dark side, and I have no more interest.

  5. Never ceases to amaze me that these people, who owe so much of their fortune to Apple and Steve Jobs, are so quick to take a dump – of prime bullshit – on the brand that made them famous.

    Must really take a special kind of bastard to be like this.

    1. Hey, even Steve Wozniak says Google has more innovation than Apple and he was Steve Jobs’ main Tonto for years. Woz loves the freedom of Android devices so he must have a good reason to dump all over Apple.

  6. Yeah. MDN take is spot on. I got a third of the way thru the biography and put the book down. Not out of disgust or anything like that. It was just boring. Some day I’ll finish it I’m sure (in the old folks home).

    Steve Jobs’ life boring… Yea right.

  7. One word describes the difference between Google and Apple innovations and that word is FOCUS.

    Google does all kinds of innovative crap from Google glasses to robots to self-driving cars to (now) thermostats. (Hell, I’m surprised Google has not yet purchased Segway). The thing is that Google’s innovations are all over the map and do not seem to have any logical connection other than being attached to Google.

    In contrast, lets looks at Apple innovations over the past couple years: fingerprint sensor built into iPhones, Siri, 64-bit ARM chips in iPhone 5s, radical new design for a desktop computer (Mac Pro), etc., etc. All of Apple’s innovations are FOCUSED on making its products better.

    So which approach is better? Well if you like to play with robots and wear glasses that make people think you are an asshole, then you will say Google. If you instead prefer use the best possible products at work or home, then you will say Apple.

    1. What about the part of this where Steve hired Isaacson?

      Kinda unravels this point to some degree (and others’ here)

      The book is an encyclostevia. Pirates of the Silicon Valley 2. That’d be SWEET. Call it: Monkey Boy’s Chest

      1. Steve hired the wrong guy. It wasn’t the first time (but it was the last).

        So, the fact that he hired the guy unravels nothing. It does noting to negate the fact that the bio is hellaciously boring and is “shit,” as Steve would have invariably described it.

        Thank God that Steve never read Isaacson’s insipid tome. It would have killed him before the cancer got him.

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