Steve Jobs vowed to ‘destroy’ iPhone rival Android

Oct 21, 2011

His motivation to go after Google may have come from seeing earlier Apple products marginalised

Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPhone - a device that again revolutionised a sector, this time mobile phones. Photo: Tony Avelar

THE TRUE extent of the enmity that exists between Apple and Google over the search giant's efforts to muscle in on the smartphone market has been laid bare in the official biography of Steve Jobs.
The Apple supremo, who died earlier this month, told the book's author Walter Isaacson that he would pursue Google until "my last dying breath" over the issue. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product," he said. "I'm willing to go thermo-nuclear war on this."

Neither was he concerned about the cost of pursuing Google and the phone manufacturers running Google's Android operating system, which he felt was ripped off. "I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank to right this wrong," he announced.

The comments are contained in Isaacson's book, which comes out next week.

The war between Apple and Google began in November 2007, when Google unveiled its Android system, a rival to the technology used in the iPhone which had launched earlier in the year. The two companies had been on good terms but things quickly turned sour and in 2009 Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, was forced to vacate his seat on the board of Apple.

In order to try and stop Android, Apple went after the handset manufacturers that were using Google's system. It accused Motorola, HTC and Samsung of patent violations and has obtained injunctions against some Samsung devices, meaning they cannot be sold in some parts of the world.

Isaacson's book carries a report of a meeting between Schmidt and Jobs in 2010, just after Google had launched its own-brand phone, manufactured by HTC. They discussed the legal actions and Jobs reportedly told his rival: "I don't want your money... I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all."

Patents blogger Florian Mueller, responding to Isaacson’s revelation, told the BBC: "If Apple doesn't want the iPhone and iPad to be marginalised the way it happened to the Macintosh... it has to use the full force of its intellectual property to fend off the commoditisation threat that Android represents," he told BBC News.

The facts prove Jobs had reason to fear Google's platform. Android phones now account for 48 per cent of the smartphone market, while iPhones have 19 per cent.

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