Apple has a lot of cash in the bank, and now we know that Steve Jobs had at least one grand plan for it: Destroy Android. Excerpts from his upcoming biography show Jobs was willing to go to great lengths to remedy the “grand theft.”


Apple has a lot of cash in the bank, and now we know that former CEO Steve Jobs had at least one grand plan for what to do with it: Destroy Android. In his upcoming biography, titled Steve Jobs, to be released on Monday, biographer Walter Isaacson shows that Jobs was apoplectic over Android’s strong resemblance to iOS and was willing to go to great lengths to remedy what he called “grand theft.”

Here’s what Jobs told his biographer, according to an early copy obtained by the Associated Press:

Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s actions amounted to “grand theft.”

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The excerpts we’ve seen of the biography so far are fascinating for many reasons but especially because they break through the carefully phrased statements Apple tends to use whenever making public pronouncements. Compare Jobs’ candor above with an example from this week’s earnings call. Regarding the ongoing mobile patent disputes, CEO Tim Cook put it this way: “We spend a lot of time and money and resource coming up with incredible innovation, and we don’t like it when someone else takes those. And unfortunately that’s why we’ve been pushed in to the court system to remedy that.”

That’s a bit milder than Jobs’ proposed scorched-earth tactics. It is interesting, though, that Apple never sued Google directly and instead has chosen to target other handset makers that use Android, apparently to chip away at Google’s influence in mobile from the outside.

Looking back, the signs of Jobs’ intent to destroy have been there. Apple has not backed down or granted broad licenses to any of the companies it has sued recently over its mobile patents. Patents blogger Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents reminded us on Friday that earlier this week Apple made it clear in its ongoing and acrimonious court battle with Samsung over the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia that there would be no broad licensing deal offered to settle the dispute once and for all.

In court documents Apple said it could potentially license Samsung “some lower level patents,” but Samsung would still have to “cease copying the features and functionality of Apple Inc’s products, and the iPad in particular.” In other words, Apple’s not giving in to make a couple of bucks, the way Microsoft did, and there will be no tacit approval of the patent infringement in exchange for licensing any of the higher-level patents Apple holds.

And this is Samsung we’re talking about, one of Apple’s most important suppliers for the iPhone and iPad, its two most important products. That’s a pretty good indication of what’s in store for the targets of Apple’s other mobile patent lawsuits, which include HTC, Motorola  and others.

As Jobs reportedly told Eric Schmidt at the time: “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.”

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  1. Patently tiring… I wonder if restaurants can patent dish combinations… Imagine that.

  2. It is sad to see a company that built it’s empire on the backs of copied designs go on to sue everyone and their dog for copying their designs.

  3. Hashim Warren Friday, October 21, 2011

    He was such a software (lawsuit) innovator. SWOON

  4. good to get this in open , android is copy cat! and so is samsung. sad steve didnt live long to kill android

    1. we know, apple invented everything. . . moving on.

    2. If Android is a copycat/stolen product form apple then isn’t iOS/iphone a stole product from RIM, Nokia, and MS (windows mobile)?

      What, apple adds a capacitive multi-touch screen that was invented 30+ years ago (not by apple) and has finally developed to the point of being affordable enough for mobile devices that apple is then THE inventor of the smartphone or smartphone OS?

      GTFO! Pure delusion!

      1. When you say that multitouch was invented 30+ years ago, you tell a flat out lie.

        I look forward to the day that Google has become apple’s search and advertising subsidiary, after losing in court for their violation of Apple’s patents.

  5. Crazy Talk. If a settlement is required (and there is considerable debate on that subject) the Board of Directors should complete that as soon as possible. Maybe that would allow Apple to use it’s time, energy and talent to start innovating again.

  6. Randall Bennett Friday, October 21, 2011

    Just sayin’.

  7. As a known hippie, “thermonuclear” is one of the words I least expect from the guy.

    1. yeah, that Steve Jobs was such a mellow Buddhist.


  8. I always find it funny when android fans disparage Apple for copying other people’s ideas. It is true that apple takes good ideas to market and that they didn’t invent the mouse or the graphical window display or touch screen devices or mobile music devices. But what is also true is that Apple has shown time and again the willingness and capacity to take risks to bring these technologies to market. Usually they are first to the market, but always they show an amazing ability to move and change the market by making extremely well thought out and functiional products.

    Android was going to be identical to the blackberry until the iPhone came out and forever changed the market. Samsung decided to make an iPhone on the back of android. Why? Because apple by taking the risk proved that consumers wanted it. It is always easier and safer to work with a proven commodity.

    Some may like android and Samsung / HTC better, but really, who is the real risk taker? Who is the innovator?

    Sent from my iPhone ….

    1. Xerox Parc?

  9. Ralph Haygood Friday, October 21, 2011

    Because, you know, Apple never, ever “stole” anything from anyone else’s products (e.g., the Xerox Star).

    This from a man who once said, “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.” (http://bit.ly/ZLidC)

    Hypocrisy aside, what petty, mypopic greed! Jobs had far more money than he and his family would ever need. Apple was on its way to being by some metrics the world’s most valuable company. The rise of Android has proved a threat to neither Jobs’s nor Apple’s fortunes. More importantly, Apple has never shown any interest in making phones that most of the world can afford; as with computers, so with phones, Apple thrives at the high end of the market. So who is bringing smartphones to the masses? Android (with or without Google, http://bit.ly/oq7EiQ), Bada, and other “thieves.” Of course, the “thieves” aren’t altruists, but it seems to me they’re making the world a better place in ways Apple wouldn’t.

    Attention, haters: I don’t work for Google. I don’t own Google stock. I do own seven Apple devices, including the MacBook Pro on which I’m typing this comment. I also own an Android phone, and it actually is better in some ways than the iPhones that were available at the time I bought it (e.g., multitasking, text fields are voice-fillable, and Flash works).

    1. Apple gave Xerox a big chunk of their company stock in exchange for a license to the Xerox technology. Where’s the big chunk of Google stock given to apple for stealing apple’s patents? Hmmm?

      The claim that Apple ripped of Xerox is a flat out liar, and repeating it makes you a scumbag piece of shit.

      Just another person who wants other people’s property without having to pay for it.

      1. This is assuming Google “stole” anything in the first place…

      2. What did Google steal again, because I can’t find any evidence care to prove it? Because Jobs died trying

      3. ولد كندة Bill Sunday, October 23, 2011

        Could you please provide what Googel exactly steal from Apple? Because I’ve searched and didn’t find anything that they stole. I mean the poor man died trying but I can’t find a single lawsuite against Google.

      4. Apple DID NOT give stock for a license. The stock was for a demo of the technology.

        Apple fans keep saying apple licensed the tech they seen at Xerox PARC even though it is historically documented that there was no license and what the stock was for. . . seems like you all want people to believe a lie and not the truth that apple readily steals ideas.

      5. where does the question of stealing comes??? now if I start using an apple product & like some features of it & write my own program to make my own os with those features and with some added features of my choice, does it count as stealing??? I don’t think so… if this goes on next I will b reading lawsuits of hotels against hotels for making the same dish…

    2. Like Kindiboy, I’m waiting to hear what Android actually stole here. I’ve read two dozen stories hyperventilating about Jobs’ tirade and not a single solitary insight into what exactly it is that’s stolen. What is the iPhone but a pocket computer with a phone antenna in it? It’s a desktop system for a touch-screen device. Apple makes awesome hardware, but what about it is any more innovative than stuff Palm and Blackberry did? Apple perfected that idea. Android went a step further and opened it. Are swiping between desktop/pages and pinch-to-zoom gestures really IP? That’s just ridiculous.

  10. Lol new ios notifications anybody?

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