Yes, Google, Steve Jobs reportedly did want to go thermonuclear

Was Steve Jobs hot or not over Android?

It's Google CEO Larry Page in the blue (and red and yellow and blue again and green and red again) corner, and Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson in the correct share of white corner in a battle for the ages -- was Steve Jobs genuinely ticked over Google copying the iPhone for Android, or was that just a lot of sound and fury to rally the Apple faithful?

Page kicked it off with comments in a recent Bloomberg interview:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. [...] I think that served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.

Using an "enemy" as a way to focus and motivate your troops is an age-old strategy, and it works. Of course, Android had to be looking at its competitors to shift from a BlackBerry and Windows Mobile Standard-style device to an iPhone-style device shortly after January 2007. But Isaacson cries foul on the spin as a whole. Speaking at the Royal Institution, Isaacson said it was a repeat of Microsoft and the Mac UI all over again. And it wasn't just the copying of ideas but the "promiscuous" licensing of those copied ideas to others.

[The Microsoft Windows situation was] almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn't a matter of money. He said: 'You can't pay me off, I'm here to destroy you'.

Jobs previous quote read, in part:

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. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.

Steve Jobs passed away last year so can't set the record straight, if indeed the record on something like this even needs to be set straight. Tim Cook runs Apple now, so he and his board and his executive team now determine Apple's response to Google and Android. (Hint: He's often said he's in favor of competition, but prefers them to come at Apple with their own innovations.)

It is interesting to hear Page's account, however. If nothing else, it shows what the person currently running Google wants us to think, and maybe that means a better relationship could once again be possible?

Source: Bloomberg, Macworld

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Yes, Google, Steve Jobs reportedly did want to go thermonuclear


If protecting your company's intellectual property is the measure of one's ego, then yes, Steve had a huge ego.

Apple was founded on that same theft of intellectual property. "Good artists copy great artists steal" Apple is so damn hypocritical it makes me dizzy.

I really don't see how you can sit there and badmouth Apple. M$ and Google have succeeded doing the same thing. And chances are, the phone in your pocket has an OS from one of these 3 companies.
You sir are the very definition of a hypocrite.

I think it's safe to say that everyone steals something to some degree. D4RkNIKON never said the others didn't, he's just stating that Jobs did moreso than others by his actions.
Because of this, I don't see how D4RkNIKON is being hypocritical...

You can't use a device that was acquired/developed by the same means to call somebody else a hypocrite. It's like a software pirate getting mad because he got ripped off.
M$, Google, & Apple are all criminals to a certain extent. They have all "stolen" their ideas from each other or from another company.

That's a commonly misunderstood quote. Great artists steal INSPIRATION not IMPLEMENTATION. That may be a fine line, but it's a very important one. The idea of a mouse or GUI are nothing if they aren't implemented in a way that makes them work for an end user.
Apple's singular talent is taking existing technologies and making them mainstream. They did it with the Mac, and they did it with the iPhone.
Henry Ford didn't event the car, he invented a way to make the car for everyone.
Apple didn't invent most of the individual elements that went into the iPhone, but they absolutely invented the iPhone.

And yet Apple patents the idea of swiping a finger, not the implementation of their touchscreen.

He was great guy but he was human after all. Problem happens when fans start treating him as god and believes in everything he said as something coming from Bible.

Re: "Tim Cook runs Apple now, so he and his board and his executive team now determine Apple’s response to Google and Android. "
And Larry Ellison runs Oracle. Just like he always has. And if there's one guy you don't want to steal technology from, it's Larry Ellison. He isn't just driven to win. He's driven to defeat and destroy his challengers.
That's probably why Oracle and Google didn't settle for a lump sum or a puny Java licensing fee. Ellison wants blood, not money. Google isn't going to weasel their way out of this one.

Why would they have to, when the judge has whittled down Oracle's claims and rebuked them at every turn?

You must be new to the smartphone/ smartphone os world. Do a search on what android was like before the iPhone on both software and hardware. Then you can come back and correct your comment.

You got a point. There's no way Apple would let something as shoddy and unpolished as Android out the door.

As a consumer I could care less who copied what. As a current 4S, iPad 2 and GS2 owner I'm just happy that the compatetion has created these great products. Just think about the first images of android before the iPhone. Just think of IOS notification system before webOS and Android.

So hi guys. I used to work for Apple back in the 80's. I worked under Steve on one project, the Mac Portable.
It was probably the single hardest 18 months of my life because we were constantly pushed to do, be and create more.
There is a fundamental truth being lost on people now because these damned phones have become some sort of cult or worse, religion to people; that truth is: One company does not have to fail for the other to succeed.
Steve understood that competition was good, vital even. We compete to improve ourselves and without something driving you to excel, you never really will. If there was only one smartphone, it would eventually end up like Windows ME. When you're not competing with anyone, you get sloppy, and sloppy is not anything Steve ever wanted Apple to be.
Apple WANTS to compete with other companies; but on a level playing field where everyone brings their own stuff to the party. In my opinion, that's exactly what happened...
I mean, we're taking about a smartphone. How many ways can you really make one of these things look?
Yet, it's not the aesthetics in question here, it's the functionality of the device.
Mac OS was, in part, taken from a wonderful project Xerox was working on. Everyone thinks it was the OS that was stolen when in actuality most of what Apple took away from those meetings was an understanding of the mouse and what a GUI was. Mac OS didn't really look like what Xerox had, but then it did too.
Not much work had been done in windowed operating systems then, so everything sort of looked alike.
Smartphones are in that very same cycle right now.
Did Android steal ideas and concepts from iOS? Of course they did, and denying it simply makes one look blind to the facts; but that's not a bad thing. Stealing an idea? Okay. To further on Rene's comment earlier, gaining inspiration from an invention is one thing. Ford, Chevy, GM... They all make cars, and they're all different, but they're still all the same because it's still a car. So yes, Android did take inspiration from iOS. Did they steal implementation? Yes they did, however those issues were resolved awhile ago and now Android users have that sexy-as-f*ck sliding keyboard thing. I don't even know what it's called, but it's fckin sweet. That wouldn't have happened without competition.
Hate all you want, but the iPhone DID change everything. Suddenly gone were the Palm Pilot hybrids and along came the beautiful tablet touchscreen.
These things are going to continue to evolve and will eventually get to that same separation we see between Windows and OS X today.
It's a phone. How different can you really expect to make it before it seems you're stepping on toes? Parallel development is what they call it. The smartphones we see today were the logical evolution of what had been done and what we see going forward will shape what the matured products will be; and we're starting to see those divisions forming now.
Point is, no one operating system or smartphone is better than the other because it's about the user and what they need. I use an iPhone because it's what I found works best for me right now. Will that change in the future? Almost assuredly.
I will close with what I tell people who try to convince me I'm not seeing the whole Android picture and must be confused somehow.
If any one of these smartphones truly WAS the best, we'd all be using it already. We're different people with different needs, so we all have different phones. I love my iPhone, but my best friend picked Android and I don't care. He's not wrong and neither am I. Neither are you.
Use your phone and enjoy it. Let me do the same.

I honestly dont see why ppl are still arguing over this bs. Some ppl like android devices, some ppl like iOS devices. Both company borrow ideas from each other in one way or another. Both have their pros and cons. No one forcing you to buy one product over another. SO as Michael Allen stated, "Use your phone and enjoy it. Let me do the same."

I agree with Michael Allen above; there are going to be similarities between devices from different companies because of the current evolution of these devices. Multiple companies make TVs and they are basically the same thing with different "tweaks". The thing I don't understand is how Apple/Steve Jobs could scream at Android for stealing ideas when they patent ideas like the slider icon to unlock a device. If that's the case then the Android community should patent the notification center in Android and sue Apple for copying the same idea with an almost exact implementation.

Google is making a lot of Enemies now. Everyone leaving Google Map and started boycott Google. Because of Google already become Evil... Google want to monopoly from Search, Ad, Merchant, Map, Email, Social Network, Browser, Operating System ( Chrome OS & Android ) to Device. Google no more friends but Enemies.

The fact that people are still so worried about this is just ludicrous. Both Iphone and Android are great products, while Iphone caters to one group android caters to another. Apple took ideas and polished them they way they saw fit, and Google did the same. The fact that everyone ( Apple AND Google ) are in this constant patient suing frenzy is sad. If great arrests steal inspiration, then why prevent others from taking an idea Apple/Google had and redefining it? Isn't that What Apple said they did? Now they are preventing it? I understand that need to protect your property, but as long as it is not a clone, and only shares some similarities then what is the problem. If anything, it would force all companies to work harder to make bigger and better devices and products.
I also have owned Android devices from the G1 to the Razzer, and I currently own an Iphone 4s, a macbook pro, and the new Ipad. I also have the Xoom. All of which are great devices

No one on this site will understand that. Any who you see where Jobs' attitude got him. Tried to take over the world, but the world destroyed him