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Steve Jobs: “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.” (9to5mac.com)
65 points by technoslut 1382 days ago | 112 comments



Jobs: "I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want."

This is a dangerously broken and, for Jobs, hypocritical idea. Where would Apple and the rest of us be today if Audio Highway or Diamond "owned" the idea of an MP3 player? If Microsoft "owned" the idea of a tablet computer? If Ericsson "owned" the idea of a touchscreen smartphone?

This, of course, is what is broken about software patents today. We're handing out ownership stakes in pure ideas within a system intended to protect realized, specific implementations.

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We're handing out ownership stakes in pure ideas within a system intended to protect realized, specific implementations

I’d say the iPhone contain specific, realized ideas. Thus, I challenge this statement. To me, if you can’t accept Apple patenting the specific, tangible things they do to make the specific, shipping products they sell, you might as well join me over here in saying that all patents are broken.

They’ve solved an awful lot of problems at one infinite loop. I’m sure they have filed plenty of overly broad patents, and plenty where you can toss out half or more of the claims, but like Microsoft, they have pumped billions into R&D that has resulted in actual products with discernible differences from what came before them.

Apple is neither a patent troll nor is it a copycat shop like most of the PC manufacturers. If Apple doesn’t deserve patent protection, nobody does. And yes, I’m perfectly fine with the idea that nobody does.

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One of the patents Apple is using in their lawsuits is "infringed" right here: http://www.google.com

The claimed infringement is Android's "Linkify" functionality. What does "Linkify" do? It scans free-form text for recognizable items (e.g. URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Apple originally did something similar with the Mac help system and patented it in 1996 and is now suing HTC, etc. over the functionality.

To me, this is an open-and-shut example of Apple attempting to claim ownership of an unrealized idea. What do you think?

Oh, by the way, I almost forgot the best bit. Even if you do think this is patentable, there is an open-and-shut example of prior art. Netscape Navigator 2.0b1, released in 1995, included "Live URL" support within its mail and newsgroup client, which does exactly what you think it does.

Apple claims it has a patent that can prevent Android from doing the same thing today. To me, this is an obvious abuse of the patent system (and I feel similarly about slide-to-unlock, photo gallery scrolling, ...).

I'm not saying Apple has no quality technical patents (the design stuff is a whole different discussion), but I'm very skeptical of the ones they're asserting against Android manufacturers. By and large, they seem to revolve around functionality that, once you've seen it being used, you need no other technical information to reconstruct it. To me, that sounds like the look-and-feel lawsuit all over again, dressed up in patent clothing. In my opinion, if the change of outfit means the suit ends up going the other way, we will all be poorer for it.

And while I don't think a "no patent" system is the best answer, it does sound a lot better than the the current system of flimsy, overbroad patents leading to rampant patent abuse from all players. I'll add that I, personally, don't distinguish much between practicing and non-practicing entities, I care far more about the quality of what you're asserting than about who you are. I'd even argue that there are cases where a practicing entity abusing overbroad, flimsy patents to stifle competition in an area can be worse (for society) than a non-practicing entity merely trying to "tax" the same area.

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If you look into the history of Apple's multi-touch and touch based gestures you'll see that they were not the first to come up with the idea. In fact, they bought much of the technology when they bought a company called FingerWorks.

But even before that, in 1991 Pierre Wellner at Xerox published and demonstrated multi-touch gestures including the pinch.

Despite all this, Apple still managed to get a patent on multitouch gestures and continually claim it as their innovation. They filed the patent in 2007. In my opinion, the patent system is really broken.

[source] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

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"Despite all this, Apple still managed to get a patent on multitouch gestures and continually claim it as their innovation. They filed the patent in 2007. In my opinion, the patent system is really broken."

Apple doesn't have a total multitouch idea patent. This is the sort of widely repeated ignorance that makes everyone think the patent system is totally broken when it's just mostly broken.

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I realize that their patent is somewhat narrow and I'm not aware of the full details. But considering the enormous research history of multi-touch gestures, I'm left wondering why we as a society feel it important to give protections to what amounts to a minor tweak to the idea.

Here is a better history of multi-touch by one of the researchers in the field: http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html

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A lot of software patents are bogus but honestly, a lot of what Apple has done with multitouch is genuinely innovative and I can understand why Jobs would be offended that others are copying their ideas.

Hell, we might actually have seen more innovation in the mobile space if competitors weren't so quick to copy what Apple has done.

Having said that, it's also hypocritical to an extent for Steve Jobs to complain about stealing good ideas. I'm sure everyone here has read the folklore.org bit about Bill Gates telling Jobs that they both stole from their neighbor...

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Except that Jobs paid his neighbor to use his ideas (in stocks) and Gates then stole from Jobs.

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How much do you think Apple paid Android for the shade-style notifications that appeared in iOS 5?

Or push notifications?

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Link: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=A_Rich_Neighbor_N...

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We should ask Wozniak how much of the Apple2 he copied from other devices (or built based on what he learned from other devices). And thus how much of Apple's current value is based on copying ideas from other companies. (Xerox!)

If Jobs wasn't fantastically rich his attitude would plainly be hypocritical and antisocial.

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Actually, Apple spends significantly less on R&D than both Google and Microsoft. They spend, but not billions like their competitors.

http://www.asymco.com/2010/05/25/apples-rd-efficiency/

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R&D != patents. The number of patents generated by a company is really based on the system employed within the company and not about how innovative the company is. Most software patents are bogus and if your company is set up with a great system to file patents quickly then you will get a lot of them. For example in my company, your performance is based on how many patents are filed. Additionally they have an entire team of lawyers that take any one page description of text and turn them into patentable items. The team of lawyers write the patent, do the research on prior patents, and will then file the patent for us.

It's a great patent filing system and it generates A LOT of patents, but the company is definitely not innovative.

Most other companies that are less keen on such a system will not file these bogus and broad patents.

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What does R&D mean in this context, and do the apparent R&D budgets differ solely due to different tax advantages based on the companies' structures?

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When you're mostly creating a better case, better UX, and better marketing.. and your partners do most of the really hard low-level technical stuff [1].. why bother with R&D?

Your whole image is based on non-engineer-driven products.

[1] Excluding the A5 CPU

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Really? Do you think making an OS (Mac OS X and iOS) and all the hardware designs of their dozens of products (remember airport express, iPods, macbook air, etc) are all "easy" to develop? Mac OS X and iOS are based on BSD, but they have been hugely modified. In fact, the kernel is far from BSD now, and they release it as open source Darwin -- it has influence from other OS'es as well.

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Almost all of the difficult underlying technologies in Apple products were created 10-50 years earlier by other companies and government agencies such as Intel, Xerox, NASA, Qualcomm, the US DoD, etc. They are basically the world's most famous system integrator. If you still disagree - let me reflect the question: list the fundamental, widely accepted contributions that Apple made to cutting-edge EE/CS research between 1990-2010. And compare that versus NASA, Microsoft, Intel, etc.

Apple is like that apocryphal hot girl in high school who got the nerds to do her homework. Due to her popularity - it's almost impossible to question her intelligence without bringing a world of hurt down upon yourself, yet despite her good grades and high social status, she isn't generating very many fundamentally new ideas on her own.

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Then why compare Apple with these companies? Compare them with other systems integrators and product people like HP or Compaq or Gateway, etc. Apple does manufacture the most competent desktop environment available, even if the core is open source, they made all the desktop GUI and the dock that every OS (including Windows 7) is now ripping off. HP never managed anything like that.

Besides, clearly the UX, making the better case, and the marketing, etc. is actually the hard part, because there's dozens of companies making chips. There's only one out there releasing Apple-level consumer goods.

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Probably you need to read and understand more about the tech industry.

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Thats a percentage of revenues, and Apple's revenues are very high. Also -- I agree Microsoft spends a lot of money on research in their "Microsoft Research" division, but the fact is, most of their research does not end up in products. I don't know about Google - I don't think they spend a lot on Research...the link you pointed to does not talk about Google. :-)

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Microsoft may be bloated, but they also have an extremely wide variety of products.

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Microsoft is a six-barrelled shotgun to Apple's sniper rifle. Chances are, Microsoft will hit something. Whereas Apple's recent misses are so few as to be individually noteworthy.

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Sure, I don't mean to commend them on their efficiency ('bloated'), but they have a startlingly wide offering of software. It's not limited to just Office and Windows de jure.

I don't really think it's fair to compare the R&D budgets - there's a lot of difference - MS has an extremely broad array of software (multiplied by i18n), while Apple has an extremely vertical stack of products. I don't think these differences can be hand-waved as being theoretically financially equivalent.

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In this case, the article describes Steve Jobs to be angry with a specific 2010 HTC model. I'm not sure which features he is talking about. The article doesn't clarify this.

Also, the behavior of the market always has been to try and "borrow" successful features from other phones. Coders borrow good code. Researchers cite other papers. This is a very common thing. I'm not sure why someone as mature as Jobs would explode on this matter.

And what's up with the photo? Is the article trying to say that they talked about such a serious matter at Starbucks? "C'mon Eric, lets get some coffee and let me tell you how I'm going to sue your company and drop a nuke on it."

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The 2010 HTC model in question is the Nexus One (a key point of contention in the Apple vs HTC lawsuits).

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Yeah, I've heard this. What is it about the Nexus One that Jobs was so pissy over? The multitouch? All the phones have that now, and they even had it before, they just had it turned off to avoid lawsuits. I think the Droid came mutitouchless initially.

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Apple's iPhone owes a lot to Palm's devices. It's funny... Apple is competent enough that you'd think they'd have confidence in their capability of out-executing competitors. Jobs comes off as insecure.

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> Apple's iPhone owes a lot to Palm's devices.

Palm owes a lot to Newton.

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With due respect, I think Jobs was pissed about, and talking about, "realized, specific implementations" and details thereof, and not basic, obvious, system-level ideas.

Android has arguably stolen many such details from iOS. You can debate whether that should be legally actionable or not, but the ideas were copied, nonetheless.

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Completely agree. Do we need to be reminded of what Android looked like before the iPhone existed?

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2007/11/androi...

The whole concept of Android shifted once iPhone was introduced. What the Google team had been working on wasn't even close.

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This is more of Android adapting well to society's needs. Isn't that what RIM and Nokia are trying to do? What's wrong with adapting to a new general idea on how to operate on a phone - from keyboard to more touchscreen?

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You should check out "In the Plex", the authorized Google biography.

It details this and how Google had been working internally on two paths for Android. They were originally going to go for the Blackberry style phone at first, but internally were working on "The Dream" which was the G1. Apparently, Android had been working on this pre-acquisition by Google. Levy wrote something to the effect of -- when Apple announced the iPhone, the Android team knew they had to ditch their plans and focus on the G1 to be competitive in a post-iPhone world.

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Your screenshot is one of a browser and a settings window, and a status bar at the top. My current android phone (running Android 2.5) has a browser and a settings window, with a status bar at the top.

My desktop browser can also point at google.com. It also has a status bar at the top, unrelated to the browser. I can also open up a browser-specific settings window and overlay it on the browser.

The guy on the macbook pro next to me also has a browser he can point to google, with settings overlay if he wants, and an unrelated status bar at the top.

Your screenshot does not make an argument.

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How about the fact that everything is button based, instead of touch screen based? Do you still have to go through a menu dialogue to input a website on your Android phone? The screenshot demonstrates that pre-2007, Android was along the lines of Palm and Windows Mobile. Post 2007, it was along the lines of iPhone.

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Fair point, but welcome also to evolution. Yes, the iphone was a big step forward in public access to touchscreen phones. It was an awesome product - the only problem is that people credit it for outright invention of far more than was actually invented.

But 'do I still have to go through a menu dialogue to input a website'? Well, yes. Once I'm at a site, the URL bar disappears, and I have to interact with the phone to get to a point where I can enter it again. It's not specifically 'a menu', but it is 'reveal to me this interface'

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A better example than the music player would be the Mac and Xerox PARC's WIMP. Pretty cut and dry there.

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Or if Motorola owned the idea of a cellular phone.

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Steve Jobs: "Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU

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This is the same as the old saying about teaching someone to fish versus given them a fish.

To steal is to make it your own, to so thoroughly understand it that you can move it forward as if it was always yours. To copy is to simply have it for today without having the understanding it takes to have had the idea in the first place, and so you can't go forward.

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Good job, you copied the highest rated youtube comment on the link.

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It wasn't Picasso, but T. S. Eliot. And "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" (another Jobs favorite) was said not by Leonardo, but by William Gaddis.

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Related: The Love Affair Between Steve Jobs and Pablo Picasso

http://gizmodo.com/5727913/the-love-affair-between-steve-job...

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Some context that may be helpful for nerds whose heads are exploding at the idea that Google "stole" iOS (which is based on FreeBSD, which is inspired by Danger, &c &c): Schmidt was on Apple's board, apparently never disclosed his intent for Google to go head-to-head with Apple on an extremely similar product, and was surely privy to many confidential details about Apple's product plans.

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Here's the thing: If it was such a big problem, why was Schmidt allowed to join Apple's board in the first place?

Schmidt was elected to Apple's board in August 2006, a year after Google bought Android (and over a year after Apple started work on the iPhone). Unlike Apple, Google's smartphone ambitions weren't secret. Could they seriously expect Schmidt to file everything he learned about Apple's smartphone plans in an unmarked section of his brain that he didn't use when he was at his day job?

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"Google's smartphone ambitions weren't secret."

Techcrunch the day Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple's board:

"back in August 2006 when he took the seat Google had virtually nothing even remotely competing with Apple’s core products and services. "

http://techcrunch.com/2009/08/03/google-ceo-eric-schmidt-res...

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Considering both the iPhone and Android were still in development at the time, the statement holds true. If potential products stopped CEOs from joining other companies' boards, then no one outside the company could ever join a board.

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Yeah I'm not disputing the statement from Techcrunch. I'm disputing the "google's smartphone ambitions weren't secret".

2005: Android is a "mobile software company"

2007: Android prototypes look like blackberrys

2008: G1 launches as a iphone knock off with noticeable differentiation (horiz slider).

2009: Droid first high end Android smartphone, another horizontal slider

Jan 2010: Google releases a Google branded straight up iphone clone, Jobs flips out.

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Android was more than a "mobile software company".

They were known at the time to be a re-assembly of parts of the Danger team working on a smartphone OS. To me, that's enough to know where Google's ambitions were pointing. The huge volume of "Google phone" rumors that started long before Android was unveiled says to me that plenty of other people saw that too.

I just don't see how, too anyone paying attention, "Google is working on a Danger-inspired smartphone OS" doesn't automatically imply "Google is working on something that could easily crash right into the iPhone."

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I thought Schmidt also left the room when they discussed the iPhone.

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Schmidt joined the board in August 2006 with the iPhone being announced and demo'ed in January 2007, including a Google Maps app, which must have been developed in collaboration with Google. It seems likely that collaboration and the negotiations surrounding it started well before Schmidt joined the Apple board - the board seat as some sort of mole-like vector of information seems far-fetched. Both companies clearly had an interest in the mobile market (Google bought Android in 2005), with the carriers being their common adversary.

Maybe there's more in the book but given Jobs's penchant for fact-bending, hyperbole and, what's the polite word again, 'mercurial nature' it's hard to really tell what the source of the falling out is. Maybe Jobs didn't expect Google to go after high-end devices or form the Open Handset Alliance. Maybe Google was unhappy with how closed Apple wanted to keep their platform. Just look at how close the dates of things like Apple's iPhone release, OHA announcement, Google spectrum-bidding, Apple iPhone SDK announcement, etc, are. There was obviously a lot going on and it probably had very little to do with *BSD origins or information available at board meetings.

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> Maybe Google was unhappy with how closed Apple wanted to keep their platform.

If you really believe Google desired openness for reasons more altruistic than strategic, try running your phone with Android compiled entirely from source.

Google releases source for perhaps two thirds of what matters with the consumer experience. Apple releases source for perhaps one third.

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Seems more to be about multitouch than Android itself considering the rant was following early 2010 HTC phones, which if my memory serves were among the first American Androids to have multitouch. After all, the G1 and Droid were out for a while before that. And there was a strange period where Android devices were capable of multitouch, but it wasn't enabled in American devices. All signs pointed to a sort of gentlemen's agreement between Google and Apple. I don't really buy into the Eric Schmidt as mole theory, but I can easily see two at one point close partners making a non-binding agreement that over time became untenable for Google.

I can see Jobs getting angry about that, especially since he always seemed very proud and protective ("and boy have we patented it!") of the iPhone's multitouch. It strikes me as more than a tad hypocritical, but the personal betrayal might explain the reaction.

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Before the iPhone came out (and it's glass-slab form factor), the Android cellphone prototypes looked a lot like Blackberry clones. However after the iPhone was announced, Google apparently switched to the slab form factor with a twist and produced the G1 with HTC. In 2010, Google started making glass-slab phones with Google branding.

Whether or not that is "stealing" is another debate; however, it wasn't until the original iPhone arrived that the slab form factor became ubiquitous.

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Every time I hear this charged leveled against HTC, of all companies, I want to shake people who have no sense of history. Go look up the O2 XDA, one of the first touch-screen smartphones. If you can't see the evolution of the touch-screen form-factor (and there are plenty of later examples), I don't know what to say.

Apple deserves tons of credit for making that form-factor much more elegant, but the idea that other companies are "stealing" by trying to come up with their own interpretations of that elegance, without acknowledging that Apple did the exact same thing, is just silly.

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The HTC Sooner:

http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss109/5y24r/exca300/800px...

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Really makes you appreciate what Apple has done for phone design.

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Or maybe LG? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Prada_(KE850)

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Funny how "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" turns into "this was stolen".

I would sympathize with Mr. Jobs here if his company wasn't the most valuable in the world, that continues to deliver record-breaking profits and generates enough wealth to make many a small nation jealous.

My point is not that Apple deserves to be ripped off because they're flush, but rather that customers know the difference between great products and obvious imitations. Those same customers are the ones contributing to the incredible wealth creation around Apple.

In short: when you're the heavyweight, don't sweat the knockoffs.

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I couldn't agree more. If this report is true it makes me sad that Jobs would take this so personally. The iPhone and iPad were brilliant products that Jobs should have been proud of. They were so far ahead of the competition that it's inevitable that others would copy. It's not like this is the first time Apple has been copied. Everyone at Apple should be proud to have helped create the future, even if it is dominated by knockoffs, it's not like it's hurting Apple's bottom line to their detriment. To the contrary, having Android snapping at its heels has got to be pushing Apple to continue to innovate and do better. I would like to think that's what Jobs' vision would have been, and that taking personal offense at the copycats was just a knee-jerk response that would have mellowed over time.

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Imagine if Steve Jobs had destroyed Windows back in the day because it was "a stolen product". Say what you want about Microsoft and Windows (I've been a die-hard Mac fan since birth), but they really drove the global personal computer revolution.

If it wasn't for Microsoft competing with Apple, we would be so far behind where we are today. E.g. Steve Jobs resisted making a computer with a separate monitor so hard, that if he wasn't pushed out of the company, Apple would never have released the Mac II. Now imagine that in a world where Apple also had a monopoly on the GUI.

Competition is good! Copy things and improve upon them, that's how we move forward.

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Andy Rubin: "Why don't we have a chat about everything you stole from the Danger Hiptop?"

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The much more informative original AP article http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5izacIaKf2h...

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Just continue to strive to build the best device...

This idea of stolen design makes no sense. Should patents on dropdowns be allowed, how how buttons, windows, hyperlinks, menus, etc, etc? Or how about cellphones itself?

Should car manufacturers learn from each other? Somebody copied gears, automatic transmission, catalytic converters, airbags, radios, sun roofs, convertibles, etc.

Somebody has an idea, others follow. That's how it should work. That's how we get the best products. That is how we keep competing. It's not that Android stole iOS code or something.

The idea of multitouch does not have much value (in the sense that a lot of money was spent on it, something had a great idea), the value is the implementation.

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[deleted]

He was a hypocrite - he took lots of other people's ideas and profited from them. He then proceeded to brag about it - "Good artists copy, great artists steal". Your white-wash attempt simply doesn't stand up to the facts.

On that note, I'm really glad Android is spreading like wildfire. It will be the dominant OS this decade and the way the majority of the world's population (not just the status-conscious and some Westerners) interacts with their most personal computing device. A feat Jobs could never achieve, either with the Mac, nor iOS.

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Hmmm, didn't realize someone had already responded to this.

Don't know what you mean about white-wash. If there's something specific about the reasoning you disagree with, feel free to point it out.

Regarding the gotcha quotation: I'm pretty sure you don't understand what Jobs meant by "stealing". Presumably you don't understand what Picasso meant by stealing, as he didn't do anything analogous to copying his competitors' designs. Jobs always wanted to be seen as doing something the world had never seen before, to wow audiences. It's hard for me to imagine that you think Jobs wanted to be a copycat.

Here is the comment I deleted:

I see a lot of folks say, "Jobs is a hypocrite, Apple has stolen lots of stuff." This continues to be edifying only on a superficial level. Context continues to matter.

You may believe that software patents are bad. You may even believe that patents are bad. But please don't pretend that some people's use of innovative ideas aren't more important and more credit worthy than others. The public doesn't believe this and you probably don't either, if you think carefully about it.

The world is a chaotic, ambiguous place, but that hasn't prevented us from judging whether entities in specified circumstances have stolen ideas from others. For example, I understand that Carlos Mencia is derided in the comedy community for being a joke their.

No one believes that you shouldn't be able to stand on the shoulders of giants. For example, the claim that Jobs is hypocritical because OS X is based on BSD is a non-starter. BSD was used with permission, legally and morally.

Put yourself in Jobs' shoes. You spend every waking moment to bring something wonderful and new to the world. You pour your sweat and love and passion into it. You trust people. And one of the people you trust starts competing against you directly AND copying your work down to a pretty fine detail. This wouldn't bother you? We're not talking about Robin Hood here. We're not talking about a charity or not for profit corporation with a transparently open source project. We're talking about another company taking your ideas to make money for themselves.

If you ask a normal person on the street who copied whom in the smartphone business, they'll say Android copied iPhone. And they'll be right. And that's why Jobs was mad.

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> "But please don't pretend that some people's use of innovative ideas aren't more important and more credit worthy than others." So we do agree to the fact that when iPhone and Android Notification system appears to be the same - it's not a mere coincidence and that credit goes to Android?

Multitouch was not a APPL invention anyways, but still they did a brilliant execution and kudos to them! If you are agreeing that Android was a copy of iPhone as it has multitouch then okay 10 points to Apple. Now for notifications if you use the argument that the only evolutionary solution is the one that is currently being used - the same argument can be used against Multitouch (which again, if ever introduced to handheld devices - would work the same way)

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I am not trying to start an argument, but you are aware that Google was working on Android for quite some time right?

I own an iPhone (3GS) and I work with both Android and iPhones, but the programming experience is completely different; it is very difficult to see it as anything more than a convergent evolution. No doubt the emphasis on touch came from the iPhone, but beyond that, I don't really see the similarities.

This Judas mythology that has sprung up around the Google / Apple relationship doesn't fit the facts as I've see them thus far. It doesn't make sense to put oneself into Steve Jobs' shoes when Steve Jobs was wrong / emotional (unless we want to understand why he was wrong). And he was wrong, unless you believe a cackling Google CTO returned to his office one day and refocused the company on putting out the Android OS to fight with iOS.

Consumer beliefs have very little basis in reality. If you asked me when I was 5 years old, I would have said Transformers copied Go-bots, eventhough Go-Bots had been released as a toyline and an animated series well before Transformers. I was wrong - and I'd be a fool to get mad over that years later when the facts were clear.

--

The comment was deleted, but as the original poster mentioned the importance of context, I have reproduced his or her comment below. I don't have any malice towards the poster in question, I think it is a prevailing attitude and one I wish to challenge (or be appropriately chastised for my own mistaken perceptions)

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I see a lot of folks say, "Jobs is a hypocrite, Apple has stolen lots of stuff." This continues to be edifying only on a superficial level. Context continues to matter.

You may believe that software patents are bad. You may even believe that patents are bad. But please don't pretend that some people's use of innovative ideas aren't more important and more credit worthy than others. The public doesn't believe this and you probably don't either, if you think carefully about it.

The world is a chaotic, ambiguous place, but that hasn't prevented us from judging whether entities in specified circumstances have stolen ideas from others. For example, I understand that Carlos Mencia is derided in the comedy community for being a joke thief.

No one believes that you shouldn't be able to stand on the shoulders of giants. For example, the claim that Jobs is hypocritical because OS X is based on BSD is a non-starter. BSD was used with permission, legally and morally.

Put yourself in Jobs' shoes. You spend every waking moment to bring something wonderful and new to the world. You pour your sweat and love and passion into it. You trust people. And one of the people you trust starts competing against you directly AND copying your work down to a pretty fine detail. This wouldn't bother you? We're not talking about Robin Hood here. We're not talking about a charity or not for profit corporation with a transparent open source project. We're talking about another company taking your ideas to make money for themselves.

If you ask a normal person on the street who copied whom in the smartphone business, they'll say Android copied iPhone. And they'll be right. And that's why Jobs was mad.

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"Google was working on Android for quite some time right?"

Yeah it looked like blackberry.

http://www.quora.com/Android-OS/What-did-Android-look-like-b...

"it is very difficult to see it as anything more than a convergent evolution."

Viewing it as "covergent evolution" is a stretch. Blockbuster new product comes out, everyone rushes to copy them. That's exactly what happened.

"It doesn't make sense to put oneself into Steve Jobs' shoes when Steve Jobs was ... emotional "

OTOH it does make sense to recognize that he was emotional before passing judgment on him as though he uttered those same words in a emotion free context years later.

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I wasn't passing judgment on Steve Jobs, I just think he was tangled in his product and lashing out.

I've heard the Blackberry thing before; that's why I mentioned the touch screen that was no-doubt inspired by Apple. (I had seen touch screen phones in Singapore long before Apple had one, but that's neither here nor there).

Once touch was settled on as the main input source, the convergence of design decisions was almost a certainty. Calling Android a clone of iOS on that fact alone belies the fact that the underlying programming (Intents, etc..) feels completely different. The claim that the UI feel is similar is fair, but it's not as if we have completely different steering wheels on different cars. Standing on the shoulders of giants, great artists steal, etc..

I was being charitable by describing Jobs as emotional months after the fact, thus clouding his judgment. The alternative reading was that he was being purposefully dense, or intellectually dishonest.

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> Viewing it as "covergent evolution" is a stretch. Blockbuster new product comes out, everyone rushes to copy them. That's exactly what happened.

I guess it's a subtle distinction, but there's a difference between just copying from Apple because you don't have any ideas of your own and responding to the consumer demand that came about due to Apple's influence. People wanted multitouch devices. Google didn't need to look to Apple to know that, you could derive it independently by doing a simple consumer survey of what smartphone consumers wanted.

Google added what people wanted and brought an OS to the market that had that and a whole lot of innovative features that the iPhone didn't. That people look backwards and only see the features inherited from the iPhone, but Android was years ahead of iOS in many other respects, some of which persist to this day.

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So you're saying it's wrong to copy your competitors, but it's okay to copy your competitors when a consumer survey says "people want your competitor's product"?

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No, I don't think it is ever wrong to copy your competitors ideas ... it might be illegal if you do it at the level where it infringes on trademarks, patents, etc. but there's nothing wrong with copying otherwise.

But most certainly it is never wrong to make products consumers want. That's the basic tenet that makes capitalism and the free marketplace work - that the consumer wins is the overriding principle. Anything that gets in the way of that is the problem, not the solution.

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> I am not trying to start an argument, but you are aware that Google was working on Android for quite some time right?

And this is what Android looked like: http://gizmodo.com/334909/google-android-prototype-in-the-wi...

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Context is important. To me this seems like a quote from Jobs at his angriest after he felt like he had been stabbed in the back by Schmidt.

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"In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn’t interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says. “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.” The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing."

I've overheard quite a few conversations in random Silicon Valley cafes, from startup pitches, to arguments over money, to people detailing their health problems. Given how open people are around here about discussing anything and everything in public, seemingly no filter, that would have been an interesting meeting to have randomly witnessed.

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Someone did. I remember seeing it on Macrumors at the time. They only overheard snippets, after which one of the two said "Let's take this someplace more private".

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Rome always found a pretext for conquering a new territory. They never destroyed without first find a "reason" that would excuse their violence. Sounds like Jobs follows the Roman example.

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Apple steals good ideas and improves upon them all the time.

Does he have to hold such a grudge? A bit ridiculous and a bit petty.

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I think it is the lack of "improving on them" part that he had a problem with.

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I find most of the iOS5 additions taking an inspiration to how Android "improved" on the mobile space. So it's ok for Apple to do it then?

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Seriously? You are proposing that if Google had just done a better job he would have been ok with it?

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Original article with more info:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Jobs-questioned-authority-all-...

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"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, "

He did and he lost.

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All these quotes coming out are really starting to tarnish my opinion of the man. It's annoying.

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what's his case against google docs?

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"Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs" -- maybe the writer just means he described Android and Docs as crap.

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It concerns iWork, I'm nearly certain.

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The iPhone was stolen from Compaq's iPaq and Microsoft Windows CE/Mobile. Bill Gates should've been the one who was angry.

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Almost as if his core operating system doesn't copy FreeBSD.

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"I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this"

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Eric Schmidt was friends with Steve Jobs, got insider info on Apple's efforts, then started an "open" competitor to the iPhone with Android.

Bill Gates was friends with Steve Jobs, got insider info on Apple's efforts, then started an "open" competitor to the Macintosh with Windows.

Steve Jobs inspires and educates his friends so profoundly that they become his enemies.

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Android was bought behind Eric Schmidt's back by Larry And Segery. Andy Rubin went and pitched it to them to buy Android.

There is no proof that Eric Schmidt got insider information. Android had been in development for awhile and was only changed to be more of a touch screen after the iphone got released.

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1. Android would have ended up nothing like it is today if not for the iPhone. It would have been the best of a bunch of crappy smart phones. Phones like this: http://news.cnet.com/i/ne/p/2008/android_prototype_550x385.j...

2. Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google at the time. It's obvious that his position on the board of Apple and foreknowledge of the iPhone gave him a huge advantage.

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Given that companies like HTC were producing both touch based phones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Touch) and keyboard phones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Wings) all around the same time -- it stands to reason that Android would be planning to support both (especially since even before the iPhone, the touch models were more popular).

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There were other (much crappier) GUIs when the Macintosh launched too.

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Exactly. Just because one company came out with a great version doesn't mean everyone else wasn't working on it too. There were touch screen phones by the dozens before the iPhone came out -- why would Android ignore that.

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"the touch models were more popular".... are you kidding? Are you saying touch smartphones were popular before iPhones? Do you have any statistics?

I hadn't seen even one of these before the iPhone (there were a few people who used them, but i would say their market share would be less than 1% in smartphones)

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Aside from Blackberry and Nokia, weren't all smartphones before the iPhone touchscreen? Palm, Windows Mobile, Sony Ericsson UIQ...

Blackberry was never popular where I live, so I mainly saw touchscreen smartphones and Nokias (and I really hesitate to call the nokia symbian phones "smartphones")

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I think there's a pretty substantial difference between touch as defined by the Apple iPhone and "touch" as defined by Windows Mobile 5 or BlackBerry OS 4. Do fingernails and styluses really qualify?

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The TouchFLO UI from HTC (released on the first touch) was designed to be used by your fingers. What they lacked was the capacitive screen of the iPhone.

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I hadn't seen even one of these before the iPhone (there were a few people who used them, but i would say their market share would be less than 1% in smartphones)

I think the rapid expansion of the smartphone market (led, in large part, by the iPhone) is tricking your eyes. Touch-screen smartphones were a significant part of the pre-iPhone smartphone market. But unless you were specifically paying attention to them, you wouldn't have seen that because the smartphone market was so much smaller back then.

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I owned both the Symbian based P800 (Touch screen, no face buttons at all) and then an HTC 6800 (touch screen, slide keyboard) years before the iPhone was ever released.

HTC alone had over 15 models of touch-screen phones released before the original iPhone. I think that kind of blows away "your less than 1%" made up statistic.

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Android stole inertial scrolling. The app store. Multitouch user interface. Mobile Safari. The entire blueprint for Apples touch based interface design. They copied everything which MADE an iPhone an iPhone. The notification system, or whatever other "features" the Fandroids claim Apple stole from Android is not what made Android. The things that made Android were the same exact things as the iPhone. Mobile browser, multitouch interface, and apps. All the things that Apple designed.

All you need to do is look at Android in 2006, and Android today. Googles goal with Android back then was to use it on dumb phones and feature phones. To bring Google to every cell phone. That's what they would tell Jobs and Forstall, while behind their backs stealing the iPhone design.

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The app store was present in Sidekick. Sidekick was made by Danger Inc. Danger Inc. was a company founded by Andy Rubin who then went on to found Android Inc. which was bought by Google and Andy Rubin now runs the Android show.

So one of the features that, according to your misinformed opinion, originated in iPhone, was actually done before by a company started by a guy who runs Android.

Then again, I doubt Danger Inc. was the first to come up with the idea of integrated application store. It's really a logical evolution of PalmGear, which operated since 1997 and was the biggest application store for Palm OS devices. It was a website but it's not such a great leap to integrate that directly into OS. It couldn't be done in 1997 because PDAs didn't have internet connection but finally the wireless technology caught up and Apple was the second company to do the obvious.

The same goes for multi touch. It has been done in other contexts before - Apple didn't invent the idea. The single touch UI was done years before on Palm devices. I'm not sure if Apple was the first to do multi-touch specifically on a phone but it was, again, an inevitable evolution of existing ideas. It just happened that Apple was designing the first gen of their product from scratch at the time when multi-touch screen technology was mature enough for mass market so they could bake it really well.

Mobile Safari? How is a web browser on a phone Apple's invention? Palm OS had decent browser a decade earlier. Safari is better but only because the hardware available to iPhones is orders of magnitude better than the hardware on those Palm devices.

But the real problem with such arguments is that you completely discount the tens of thousands of ideas that Apple had to "copy" (using your terminology) from earlier phones. Sure, they've added a few things of their own, but so did everyone else. The nature of technology business is that you take the best of what exists today, you add a few unique pieces and release an improvement version. It's myopic to complain that Google copied some ideas but completely ignore the Apple's massive copying of ideas that is iCloud (just to give one example).

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Having an app store is not enough... Was it popular, on the same order of magnitude as is the iPhone App Store? Inventing is nice, but making it appealing so that everybody wants to use it, finds it useful, thats what makes an impact. But okay I am fine with App Store not being considered a big innovation.

But multi-touch, inertial scrolling, mobile safari (With ability to zoom in and out of text), pinching to zoom, the idea of not wasting any space for keys, changing orientation of screen based on actual orientation, proximity sensor, visual voicemail, no carrier crapware, etc etc etc including the app store -- made the iPhone a major leap in smartphones -- that vaulted the whole industry an order or two of magnitude above where they were at that time -- I feel.

Android took all of this from the iPhone. In fact, Android as a phone is very similar to iPhone -- except for minor usability tweaks, and more flexibility to customize. I definitely think Android is a derivative product of the iPhone.

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Multitouch was inevitable and demonstrated long before the iPhone. Mobile browsers existed long before the iPhone. What the iPhone did was have enough juice to run a real browser correctly. They did a good job on mobile Safari, but this is not a mind boggling invention. App Stores? Are you kidding? I had app stores on my smart phones for years. Yeah they sucked, but Apple didn't invent it, they just made it better.

Inertial scrolling, yeah, that's a good call, and the only one you mentioned that's a legitimate invention.

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I'm not so sure multi-touch was inevitable. I mean, as a general concept perhaps. But the trend for phone during the time that the iPhone was released was tiny-keyboards. It was the Blackberry era. It's no accident that 2006 era Android protoypes looked like Blackberrys. Jobs made a point that they were going to do away with that, and go full screen multitouch.

It wasn't obvious and there were a lot of skeptics about giving up a physical keyboard. Typing on a screen just hadn't been done sucessfully.

You say this is obvious now, but what phone did you own in early 2007? I had a Palm Treo.... with a keyboard.

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HTC Dash. A horrible phone.

I guess when I mean multitouch was inevitable, I meant as a technology and not necessarily on the phone. Yes, Apple did perfect that technology first, but I saw demos of multitouch on tablet-like devices years before the iPhone. There were no commercial products that I can recall, but they were working prototypes and not just demos.

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> It was the Blackberry era.

In North America.

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Inertial scrolling existed in Windows XP.

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Where? Maybe I never noticed simply because I was using a mouse.

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Inertial scrolling has been in Windows since at least XP. It's the one feature of Windows that I miss in my linux desktop - middle-click to get the inertial scroller, then move your mouse appropriately to flick around as quickly or slowly as you like. It's very far from a new concept or innovation.

The App Store? Perhaps for payment, I don't know. But Debian has had a 'centralised online repository from which you can effortlessly get all the software you want' since 2001 (apt). It's what drew me to Debian in 2007.

Mobile browser? My cheaparse Ericsson non-smartphone from ~2004 had a mobile browser in it. The screen was just too small to be useful, and the uplink too slow. There were even webpages made specifically for mobile phones then, catering to the smaller screen size.

Apple is a talented design company, but they didn't 'invent everything good in tech'.

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