Google’s CEO Larry Page Claims Steve Jobs’ War on Android Was ‘For Show’; But Biographer Disagrees


Android vs iPhone

In the last two years or so, Apple has launched a patent war with manufacturers of Android based smartphones such as Samsung, Motorola and HTC for blatantly copying their products, which has shown no sign of abating. Most the companies have countersued Apple for infringing on their patents.

 Steve Jobs had explained to his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, that this aggression against Android-based smartphone manufacturers was meant to communicate a message:

“Google, you f–king ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft.” Jobs swore he would “spend my last dying breath” and “every penny” in Apple’s coffers “to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.”

However, in an interview with BusinessWeek, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page claims that Steve Jobs’ war on Android was  “for show”.

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally. [..]

[..] 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.

However, Macworld reports that Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson doesn’t agree with Page’s assertion that Jobs’ war on Android was just “for show”:

Isaacson continued: “It’s 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’.”

As for what will happen now that Jobs isn’t around to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Google, Isaacson thinks that Apple CEO Tim Cook will handle things differently. “Tim Cook will settle that lawsuit”, Isaacson added.

Though Apple’s stance may change with Tim Cook at the helm, it seems quite clear that Apple was indeed aggressively going after Android-based smartphone manufacturers for the last two years suggesting that it was more than just “for show”.

What’s your take? Sound off in the comments.

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