Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously said that he intended to wage “thermonuclear war” on Android. The rift between Apple and Google has been growing wider over the years, and the two companies have essentially become sworn enemies in most areas of business.
In an interesting profile by Bloomberg Businessweek, current Google CEO Larry Page says that Steve Jobs’ public defamation of Android was “for show” to rally Apple around its obvious enemy. Page also talks about topics like the current state of Google, the Motorola acquisition, and more.
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.
He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.
When pressed further about the “for show” comment, Page said:
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.
Jobs called Android a lot of things over the years, including a “stolen product.” He said, “Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them” while also calling Google’s “don’t be evil” motto “bullshit.”
Walter Isaacson chronicled Jobs’ dying wish to see Android destroyed in the former Apple CEO’s biography. Many believe there is deep-seeded resentment of Android at Apple because former Google CEO Eric Schmidt served on Apple’s board while the original iPhone was being developed. Google publicly announced Android shortly after the first iPhone launch, and Schmidt parted ways with Apple.