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Jobs: Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto is "bullsh*t"

updated 11:55 pm EST, Sat January 30, 2010

Jobs takes on Adobe and Google at meeting

An inside report from within an Apple town hall meeting has revealed some of CEO Steve Jobs' blunt criticisms, particularly against Google. In the wake of the iPad launch, Jobs claimed the search firm's motto of "Don't Be Evil" is simply "bullsh*t" and that the new rival is fully intent on killing the iPhone with Android despite the companies' partnership on iPhone services. He similarly pointed out that the aggression was largely one-sided and that Apple hadn't entered search.

Notably, the attendee also mentioned to Wired that Jobs called Adobe "lazy" and confirmed the commonly held belief that Apple refuses to offer Flash for the iPhone due to stability. Since Flash is the single most common source of crashes for Safari and even the Mac as a whole, it would likely fare poorly on handhelds as well, he said. Jobs, like some critics, believes many sites will move away from Flash and towards HTML5, which supports direct video streaming without a plugin.

While not part of any public statement, Jobs' comments signal a more determined stance not to be outdone by Android as well as a rejection of Adobe's criticism of the iPad for again abandoning Flash. The software house has argued that Apple isn't providing the whole web, although Apple has countered both by offering an enhanced YouTube app as well as loosening App Store limits to let many third-party developers offer apps that would normally need Flash, such as Qik or Ustream.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    out of context

    I'm sure these quotes would be more interesting in context.

    Googles 'don't be evil' pledge was never intended to signal that they don't believe in competition and free enterprise.

    Of course Google has a competing phone, and they will do their best in the cell phone market.

    Apple is free to enter the search market, and do their best. Apple's move into the browser sphere, even on Windows, is a pre-cursor to entering the search market. Whether ultimately they go that route, or don't, remains to be seen.

    It's not evil to have competition. Nobody 'owns' search and nobody 'owns' smartphones.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's about ads, not Android

    I wouldn't be surprised if Jobs thinks that Google is now "doing evil" by slowly "poisoning" their search results by putting paid clients' results at the top. For example, I just googled "orchids" (since I'm watching my DVD of "Adaptation" now.) There's a "Sponsored Links" box above all normal search results, with links to two local florists and

    If that isn't a sellout, then what is? Is selling out doing evil? I guess that depends on your definitions of selling out and evil. But clearly Google is awarding the highest bidder with highest placement.

    As we all know by now, Google outbid Apple for online ad firm AdMob. Apple's consolation prize was their purchase of Quattro Wireless, a wireless ad firm. So it's clear that they'll be slugging it out in the mobile ad space real soon now.

    Google will be taking money from advertisers, like they have been for years, but now they're being more obvious about it. Apple will be enticing iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to buy content through iTunes. Should be interesting.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google's pledge is BS

    LGoogle made that pledge when they first started - that's a long time ago, and it's not what they live by now (if they ever did).

    I agree that it would be nice to get the context of Jobs' remarks.

    I don't think he would say that Google is evil just because it's competing with the iPhone. It may be something Google's doing in their software - maybe making apps that run better on Android than they do on the iPhone? Or using their knowledge of the iPhone's proprietary technical details, and copying them? Or maybe something they're doing with their Mobile Ad system. Just speculating on my part.

    My own view of the evils of Google run more to the privacy side - Google wants to get its fingers (and its nose) into everything everyone does on the computer, and use that information to try to sell things. It couldn't use Double Click in the way it wanted (it got stopped by privacy concerns), but it has plenty of other methods - like using it's database (and software embedded in Google Earth and other programs that 'phone home' all the time) to compile information on individuals that it can use later. It may not be that bad right now, but Google wants to get there.

  1. facebook_Kevin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Sitting on Apple's Board?

    Well, it WAS kind of evil to create Android with someone sitting on Apple's board of directors. After the way Bill Gates did Steve Jobs over the Mac, he couldn't be too happy about the same thing happening over the iPhone. I know I'd be pissed.

  1. TiberiusMonkey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It is understandable why he'd feel like this.

    I'm sure some would label me a fanboy for saying that, but what facebook_Kevin says is true, if you look at very early Android prototype examples they look like phones UIs pre the iPhone then we see the iPhone and *pop* all of a sudden Android starts looking very similar.

    I'm also starting to wonder just what Google is doing with all this information, something a lot of the new Android defenders seem totally fine with.

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They have always been

    I'm sure that there are a lot of people out there who think that Google, with it's Android and "open" policy are the shining beacon of what it means to be an open source company. And for many, I am sure that "seems" like a good thing. I have always said, from day one, thought that Google was on it's way to becoming the next Microsoft. Like anything else, it's a business. At the end of the day, Google is trying to make a buck just like everyone else.That said, all big business is evil. ALL. So, there really should be no surprise here. Google was (unfortunately) aware of the plans for the iPhone and, yes, borrowed some ideas. Just business I guess. I do think, however, that Jobs has it right when he says that the public admonition of "evilness", if you will is poppycock.

    Now, as for Adobe and Flash - you know what I think Apple should do? I think they should bite the bullet, allow flash on all of their devices BUT put in a switch so that users can turn it on and off at their will. I think, then, people would see how crappy it is. When their phones and iPads run out of juice after 20 minutes... etc. etc. THEN, Apple could put out a page explaining WHY, when you turn on Flash, that happens. I truly think that would be the end of this discussion and then Adobe would be forced to go ahead and fix what they have broken. At least then it would all be out in the open and there wouldn't be any more hearsay.

    Agreed? :-)

  1. Sabon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who is lying? Apple or Adobe? But then I don't car

    Flash - Who is lying? Is it Apple or Adobe. If Adobe truly does not have the hooks into Mac OS X to make it a very good app on Mac OS X (including iPhone) then Apple is lying. If Adobe does have the hooks it needs, then Adobe is lying. I don't know which is true.

    What I do know, is that I have a flash blocker on my Macs and I will ALWAYS have one as long as their are animated ads or ads that get in my way of reading what I am trying to read.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Mark

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Jobs is a barefaced liar

    Boy, Jobs is the biggest control freak in the industry.

    To get music on to an ipod or iphone, you HAVE to have Quicktime (apple) you HAVE to have iTunes (apple) you HAVE to have a proprietory cable (apple) and the iTunes store is all over your face no matter what you do. I call that aggression in the extreme.

    Last week he called the iPad (the apple one, not the Fujitsu one from 2003) "the most advanced technology" he has worked on. What an obscene joke. This kind of marketing lie is what Jobs has been doing, and convincing the apple (we are better than you) zealots for years and years. It has been rubbish about the superior speed of macs, the greater versatility, the greater reliability etc etc, non stop marketing rubbish.

    Apple will aggressively compare themselves to some (pretentious) yuppie called I am a Mac, and make the PC an obese geek. Hmmm. I know Jobs is physically unwell, but my goodness, what a hypocritical d*** he is.

    I have an 8 core macpro and a 17 inch macbook pro. One of them boots to OSX, the other to Win7. Who cares? But I really dislike the dishonesty that apple has ongoingly displayed in their advertising and, dare I say, "evil" control freakery.



    Joined: Dec 1969


    Flash Sucks

    I think Google should have resigned their seat on Apple board BEFORE developing the android phone. In that they did do evil. At the same time I think having competition is good and having it from a solid company is better it will drive both products to get better over time.

    Flash is bad. That is all I can say. My Mac and PC crash all the time.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Right on Adobe, Wrong on Google

    Adobe has been staunchly lazy when it comes to the Mac platform. Unless someone has a better word for it. They failed - either out of ignorance or spite - to heed the call to move to XCode and got caught flat-footed on Intel apps. And stayed that way for what amounts to a lifetime in development years. I hope to God that was not what they imagined to be some sort of inspired business plan. They treaded water on certain apps until they just dumped PPC code and went straight to Intel. Flash is the single buggiest thing in the entire OS experience, and it should not be in the iPhone unless it is rock solid. So HTML 5 will eventually surpass them anyway, but it is a flagship technology, but they don't own YouTube... decisions decisions... they likely don't know whether to spit or wind their watch.

    Google isn't evil. They are a business. One of their BUs competes with one of Apple's BUs. Steve doesn't respond well to competition at first, and this is new competition. He'll figure it out. Steve likes to use words like tranquilizer darts. You stun your prey, then they are far more compliant while an actual plan is developed. Despite every bit of invective between him and Bill, they worked out their differences and it's now just healthy competition. And if Apple were to roll Google search into the iPhone ecosystem at the basic level, they would drop Android like a hot potato. Frankly with Google on their board, I'm surprised that didn't happen first. Branding would be an issue for both parties, and there are probably public company board politics that are beyond my ken.

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