updated 10:15 am EDT, Fri July 9, 2010
Google denies trying to kill iPhone
Google during its time at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley media conference said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs' claims about Android being a response to iPhone were spin. Co-founder Larry Page argued that Jobs' view of Android coming afterwards was a "little bit of rewriting history" and reminded guests that Google had been developing Android for a "very long time" before the iPhone was introduced in early 2007. The company had always wanted an Internet-aware phone with strong web browsing, according to Page.
"I think that [Jobs'] characterization of us entering after is not really reasonable," Page said.
The statements are largely accurate. Google acquired Android, Inc. in July 2005 at a time when it was known to be making mobile software and more than a year before Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined Apple's board. While it didn't outline its full plans until late 2007, rumors had been circulating for much of 2006 that Google was developing its own phone and later just its own OS. It's unclear whether Jobs was aware of the acquisition of Android or Google's plans for it before formally accepting advice from the executive.
Schmidt at the conference nonetheless tried to soften any perceptions of complete animosity and stressed his view that the smartphone market wasn't a zero-sum game for Apple and Google, where one had to fail for the other to succeed. Both could succeed in the same space, he said.
Whether or not the perception holds is still uncertain on its own. Android took a small share from the iPhone earlier this year, but the record-setting iPhone 4 launch and the possibility of an iPhone launch on Verizon by 2011 could undermine Google's rapid growth. Many have attributed Google's success to Apple's absence on Verizon and, to a lesser degree, other US carriers besides AT&T; the move has let Google monopolize Verizon's marketing attention and take a prominent position on Sprint and T-Mobile as well.