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Sources call Apple vs. Google battle "incendiary"

updated 05:55 pm EST, Sat March 13, 2010

Jobs allegedly feels betrayed by Android launch

The competition between Apple and Google has reached "incendiary" levels that aren't likely to cool down anytime soon, a detailed story from within the two companies has shown. While signs of the split have become increasingly public, a Bay Area investor claims that the two sides, particularly Apple, are getting "emotional" as it becomes a personal battle between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his Google equivalent, Eric Schmidt. At Apple, Jobs' infamous attack on Google at a post-iPad town hall has been followed by repeated shots at Android in discussions at lower levels.

"I've never seen anything quite like it in my life," an Apple worker told the New York Times. "I'm in so many meetings where so many potshots are taken. It feels weird."

The existence of Android itself is also now understood to have been a major problem from the outset. Apart from frequent conversations regarding Apple's worries about Android, a 2008 meeting at Google's campus has been described by executives as "fierce" after Jobs purportedly threatened to sue if any Android phone used multi-touch. The decision to add multi-touch to the Nexus One and the Droid in the near future is considered a symbolic decision to break an unwritten rule at the companies that prevented Google from adding the more natural input to its OS.

Google is said to be less agitated as its primary goal has been to foster an open mobile phone industry, although its decision to informally endorse HTC in that company's defense against an Apple lawsuit reflects a policy of refusing to abandon Android at Apple's request. Even before multi-touch, Jobs has allegedly accused Google of stealing design cues from the iPhone.

The acquisition of AdMob earlier in the year was also a deliberate attempt to keep the mobile ad firm out of Apple's hands after the iPhone maker had sent signals it was considering a buyout. As soon as a 45-day moratorium ended for AdMob to consider other offers, Google was supposedly willing to pay not just a 25 percent premium on a $600 million Apple offer (moving up to $750 million) but to sweeten the stock options by letting employees sell their shares earlier. A pair of contacts familiar with the negotiations have said that Jobs suggested AdMob may have broken the 45-day agreement by signing a Google deal just three days after Apple let the moratorium expire.

The seemingly knee-jerk acquisition of Quattro Wireless, which will lead to Apple's own mobile ad platform, is known to have been a direct response to the AdMob deal. However, it may not be entirely necessary as the FTC may block Google from completing a deal to prevent antitrust issues.

While Apple board director Bill Campbell is seen as a possible peace broker, the Times backs rumors of a possible switch to Bing for iPhone searches as one Apple staffer claims to have seen Microsoft online services chief Qi Lu visiting Apple's campus to make such a deal.

An agreement between Apple and Microsoft would be ironic as the iPhone was built partly as an attempt to thwart Windows Mobile; Windows Phone 7 also makes extensive use of multi-touch for browsing maps, photos and the web. However, the choice might come as part of an "enemy of my enemy" decision where Apple would rather partner with Microsoft than use Google's service, even if Google is more popular and readily ports many of its services to the iPhone.

by MacNN Staff



  1. rtamesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Brutus, aka Eric Schmidt

    I'm surmising that Jobs feels very betrayed by Schmidt and Google's subsequent decisions after being part of the Apple Board of Directors all these years. For Jobs, Google's actions probably bring up old memories of Microsoft deciding to compete with Apple in the late 1980's after getting a peek into Apple's technologies.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    one thing is sure

    if bing is the default search on iphone i'm in the google camp. there's no way i can support that. ms search should have been buried a decade ago when they first lost the search battle. they've lost 4 or 5 more times since.
    hope apple and google work it out.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I doubt if Google would be happy if

    Apple started stepping into it's search and ad click space. Well, it's business and I suppose it's an open field for any company to make more money. Still, companies would naturally try to defend their territory. Google probably did a good thing by creating Android for the masses, but it should be able to understand being hit with a law suit for possible patent violations.

    Android is good for Google for ad revenue and that's what Google is mostly interested in. If Google hadn't put out Android, Apple would have had a clear field to make huge gains with its iPhone platform. Apple's iPhone growth be slowed down quite a bit with Android being free and running on so many manufacturer's smartphones. Google is not going to be happy when Apple starts taking mobile ad revenue from them. Apple was likely only interested in selling mobile hardware, but Google got greedy and crossed the line with Android.

    I've been using Bing for a while in Safari (Glims plug-in) and while it's not up to Google search just yet, I feel that it is improving.

  1. rtamesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: one thing is sure

    At this point, the only thing that will satisfy Jobs is total annihilation of Google's Android project.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bing use

    I'm using it more all the time, especially when it comes to Images. And it's fast.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969



    wow, i didn't see this one coming a year ago.
    Seems to me that Apple needs a strong competitor to work against, MS is dead in the mobile space so that leaves us only Google. Same emotional breakup too, i hope they don't dump Steve Jobs this time.

    Apple's enemy is my enemy, time to start some flamewars in the newsgroups. ;-)

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google had to do Android

    One of the things Jobs doesn't understand is why Google did Android.

    Google and Apple share a common goal with the push for an Internet based upon completely open standards. It's why Google and Apple were so intent on pushing HTML5. Apple doesn't want the situation they had back in the late 1990s when you were locked out of many places on the Internet if you didn't use IE and Windows. Google wants an Internet based upon open standards, so they can continue their ad revenue. It's one of the reasons why Google and Apple were so close for so long.

    And, the iPhone was a great step in that direction. The iPhone had a browser based completely upon the open standards, and was heading towards HTML5 compatibility. However, one device from a single company doesn't make an "open Internet" for Google. The best the iPhone would do is capture a large share of the market, but it would never be a majority of the market.

    iPhone's competitors were Windows Mobile, Palm, and Symbian. None of those had an open platform and they weren't heading in that direction. So, Google bought Android, and used its influence, and power to make it a viable phone platform that was truly open. Since dozens of companies would be making Android phones, all the mobile phone providers would be able to sell some version of an Android phone. With the iPhone and all the Android phones, there would be a better guarantee that most cellphones would use open protocols.

    In the end, it was really a bad strategy for Google. They upset a powerful ally and Android isn't working out to the panacea they hoped. Already, AT&T is taking the open source of Android, removing all of Google's applications, and is making Microsoft's Bing the default search engine. Google laid the groundwork, but won't see any revenue from that Android phone. Meanwhile, Apple is talking about making Bing the default search which means Google stands to lose about 25% of the market share to Microsoft in one fell swoop.

    Google would have been better off advocating other companies like RIM and Palm to base their browsers on Webkit (which Palm did and RIM is doing), and building Google apps for all platforms.

    Google's Android adventures has done nothing but brought Google headaches and has actually weakened Google's position in the market. Now, thanks to Nexus One, many companies who are making Android phones think of Google as a possible competitor, and might be scaring everyone back to Microsoft's Windows 7.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I highly doubt...

    that Eric Schmidt would pull a hissy-fit if Apple entered the seach business. He would go back to his team and figure a way to provide a superior service to stay ahead of the competition.

    Steve Jobs is turning senile and is behaving like a 4 year old in response to healthy competition and everyone at Apple is sees this.

    Steve Jobs is an arrogant cun7 that pulls a temper tantrum when he doesn't get what he wants. Don't expect this to get better as he sees his darling iPhone fail to dominate the mobile market as he wants.

    He is attacking Google like a rabid dog because he sees the threat Android poses to the iPhone and his vision of world mobile domination. He'll pull out all the stops, grasping at all the patent straws he can muster to try in vain to stop the inevitable.

    Getting into bed with Microsoft??? I'm sure that is something that all you Appleheads are really looking forward to...

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android vs. iPhone = ?

    There's simply no way Android can compete with the tight integration of iPhone and iOS. PERIOD.

    Ultimately, Android will end up a mess like Microsoft and Windows, unless Google and other Android sellers manage to put tight controls on hardware specs OR manage to make it scalable and adaptable to hundreds of possible hardware configurations. Somehow I don't see it happening.

    Now that Microsoft is a dead-in-the-water laughingstock with nothing compelling in terms of technology or products being released, I think the press is stoking or creating the supposed flames between Apple and Google because it gives them something juicy to make up stories... I mean... report about.

    Competition is good.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android wins

    Android will be the volume player, not Apple, in the long run.

    But it was never going to be Apple, they want the premium space (and they own it, and will continue to own it).

    Apple's business model is not in question, but its not a business model that extends to prepaid phones and emerging markets.

    The lowcost arena, requires a free os, and competition from handset manufacturers.

    Android is doing a Apple a favor, even if they can't see it. While Apple routes MS at the high end - and does that not only in Phones, but in computers as Google is routing MS on the low end.

    And that just gives MS very little influence, and little chance to marginalize Apple.

    Jobs should calm down. As far as the end user knows, or would have known, Apple and Google still appear to be great partners, they've managed to keep the old desktop monopolist MS, at bay...looking from the outside at other people's innovation.

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