Steve Jobs’ Animosity Toward Google Is Real and Personal (NYTimes)

An article today by the New York Times delves deeper into the recent fallout between Apple and Google, with the article painting most of the dispute’s animosity as coming from Steve Jobs.

At the heart of their dispute is a sense of betrayal: Mr. Jobs believes that Google violated the alliance between the companies by producing cellphones that physically, technologically and spiritually resembled the iPhone. In short, he feels that his former friends at Google picked his pocket.”

Early versions of Google’s Android operating system had more in common with Windows Mobile and RIM phones than the iPhone, as seen in the photo of an early prototype from December 2007, shown below:

But as Google slowly morphed the Android platform to more closely resemble the iPhone, Steve Jobs began to openly confront Google’s executives over the matter.

Many of those meetings turned confrontational, according to people familiar with the discussions, with Mr. Jobs often accusing Google of stealing iPhone features. Google executives said that Android’s features were based on longstanding ideas already circulating in the industry and that some Android prototypes predated the iPhone.

At one particularly heated meeting in 2008 on Google’s campus, Mr. Jobs angrily told Google executives that if they deployed a version of multitouch — the popular iPhone feature that allows users to control their devices with flicks of their fingers — he would sue. Two people briefed on the meeting described it as “fierce” and “heated.”

The dispute has recently culminated in an Apple lawsuit against HTC, maker of many Android phones including Google’s Nexus One, for infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware. In a press release accompanying the lawsuit, Steve Jobs drew a proverbial line in the sand:

We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it.”

Apparently, Jobs’ vitriol has recently extended into Apple’s corporate culture, with current employees noting a rise in anti-Google sentiment.

I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my life,” one Apple employee says. “I’m in so many meetings where so many potshots are taken. It feels weird.”

Link: New York Times “A Battle for the Future Is Getting Personal”


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