Making a surprise appearance during Apple's Q4 2010 conference call today, Steve Jobs tore into Google on the issue of openness. Jobs basically said Google uses openness as a smokescreen for fragmented, while Apple prefers an integrated software/hardware business model.

Apple makes devices that just work, Jobs said, while Google expects the customers to be systems integrators and figure out multiple different hardware and now even app stores as Verizon, Amazon, and Vodafone start rolling their own markets. For developers, considering everything from testing to selling, it becomes a mess.

Some highlights, paraphrased:

  • SJ: Google activating 200,000 Android devices a day, 90,000 apps. Apple activating 275,000 iOS devices on average, 300,000 peek. Apple has 300,000 apps in its app store.
  • SJ: No sold data on how many Android handsets sold. Manufacturers don't report it. Hopes they will. Waits to see who was the winner in most recent quarter.
  • SJ: Google likes to say Android is open, iOS is closed. Jobs finds that disingenuous. Unlike Windows, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMS including Motorola and HTC install proprietary UI, user is left to figure it all out. Every iPhone walks the same. TweetDeck recently launched Twitter Client, had to contend with 100 different versions on 244 different handsets. Many apps only work on some handsets on some versions, on devices shipped less than 12 months ago.
  • SJ: Amazon, Verizon, Voda all creating their own app stores. Customers much search, devs much figure out. Going to be a mess. iOS App Store is one stop shopping.
  • SJ: Even if Google was right, open systems don't always win. PlaysForSure used separated model, even Microsoft abandoned that, turned to Zune, left OEM empty handed.
  • SJ: Open vs. closed is smokescreen. What's better for customer, fragmented or integrated? Android is getting more fragmented every day. Users shouldn't be system integrators. Huge difference in approach. Apple thinks just works will trump Google's approach every time. Better for developers.
  • SJ: Apple confident integrated will triumph over Google no matter how much Google calls it open.

TiPb's been saying for a while that Android is open for carriers and manufacturers, not end users, but Jobs' take was certainly more calculated. What does he gain by taking it to Google like this?