From the revelation that Steve Jobs once said he was willing to wage "thermonuclear war” against Android and invest all of Apple's money to sink the company that “stole” the iOS template, it is clear that Android never made the tech icon feel warm and fuzzy inside.
A new book by Fred Vogelstein, however, suggests that Jobs’s hatred of Android ran deeper than just the company itself.
Entitled Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution’, the book reveals more than a modicum of personal tension between Jobs and the founder of Android, Andy Rubin. According to the new text, Jobs branded Rubin a “big, arrogant f***k,” suggesting that the two mobile heavyweights were never on each other’s Christmas card list.
After buying Rubin’s startup, Android, for $50 million (£31.2m) in 2005, Google set to work developing an operating system around it. However, the launch of the iPhone in 2007 blew its product out of the water.
Vogelstein’s book has it that Rubin was in a Las Vegas cab when he heard about Apple’s brand new handset. Forcing the driver to pull over the car, he apparently said: “Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to launch that phone." Google’s ready-to-launch software looked dated and “nineties” compared to Apple’s iOS, so the whole system was scrapped and Android went back to the drawing board.
When Rubin and his team finally released their version of the software, Jobs was furious at how similar it was to Apple’s creation and called a meeting with Google’s Larry Page, Alan Eustace and Rubin himself.
It is alleged that the meeting rapidly devolved in tone from professional to downright personal, where “Jobs said that Rubin was steamed, telling him his position was anti-innovation.” The Apple founder even laid into Eustace’s appearance, accusing the SVP of Google engineering of copying his physical appearance, including his glasses and haircut.
The outcome of the scrap swung massively in Jobs’ favour, with Google caving to his demands and stripping away features that Jobs deemed too similar to the iPhone – including pinch to zoom multitouch features.
In protest, Rubin reportedly hung a sign on his office board reading: “STEVE JOBS STOLE MY LUNCH MONEY.”
Rubin may have had the last laugh however, with news that in this year’s third quarter, Android guzzled an 81 per cent slice of the market share pie.