Jobs Never Forgave Googles Eric Schmidt for Backing Android

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-10-23 Print this article Print

In reality, the iPhone, as nice as it is, is derivative of the products that preceded it in the market. While Apple did a beautiful job of the user interface, and made a device that's attractive enough to garner a gazillion followers and an ecosystem that was just closed enough to control while being open enough to gain a great deal of external support, the iPhone still depended on the work of others.

This is true of Apple's products in general. As nice as the original Macintosh may have been, it depended on Xerox for the original design for the interface. As nice as the Apple II may have been, it too was based on predecessors. But this isn't to suggest that the Macintosh or the Apple II were bad computers or that they shouldn't have been developed using the concepts of others. There really is no alternative.

Despite Apple's claims of uniqueness, the company couldn't have been completely unique if it expected to actually sell computers. Apple didn't invent computing after all. The company simply developed software using a different approach from what was emerging elsewhere at the time. Of course, Apple insisted on using a closed platform. The company refused, except for a brief time, to allow clones of its product. And when clones did appear, Apple put them out of business.

I suspect that the only reason Apple escaped the interest of the U.S. Justice Department is that the market share at the time was so small that it would be hard to prove anticompetitive behavior. But the fact is that Apple could never have existed if not for the ideas and creations of other companies. And there's nothing wrong with that.

For technology to exist at all, it can't possibly be invented afresh every time. Great products depend on earlier ones that manage to move the state of the art forward. They depend on other changes in other technologies, and they depend on a vast range of ideas beyond the reach of any single company or any single person. Likewise, designs grow from other designs from other places. And companies that believe that their designs are somehow unique and divorced from everything are deluding themselves.

So why was it that Jobs was so irate about Android? Was it because Android came from the company run by Eric Schmidt, one of his board members? I'm sure that Jobs' sense of betrayal was rooted in this and in his belief that he was the only one who had great ideas. But the fact is that the world is full of great ideas. What Apple did was take some of those great ideas and execute them very well. That in itself is great enough. You don't need to denigrate others who do the same. And when Jobs did that, he diminished himself in the process. 


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel