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Steve Jobs vowed to “destroy” Android

Apple (s aapl) 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(s goog). 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,(s msft) 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 (s mmi) 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.”

27 Responses to “Steve Jobs vowed to “destroy” Android”

  1. Throughout history, Wars over power have been waged. Don’t be fooled by Utopian thoughts that somehow Google is an altruistic age of Aquarius company, giving all for free, free OS is a delusional view. See the forest for the trees! Here is the forest for the trees; Google subsidizes consumer products by being a B to B giant in a capitalist market system. Look! think! OK, YOU are thinking. Question; How can we dominate the market system and make a fortune?; funnel money away from consumer product companies to us. How? offer competing consumer products! How do we flood the market? Same way big corporations replaced mom and pop stores in the past. How? by moving into a market, offer our subsidized product cheaply, until the revenue stream is choked off long enough to close down competition in an area. OK that works, but how can we step it up a few notches? By offering subsidized products “free” to other Massive corporations, why? because it chokes the revenue of consumer product companies selling to OEM’s, while expands our market. Remember our bread and butter is control of consumer data, our fortune! This is huge! yes! OEM’s, retail giants, phone carriers all pushing our product, They have control of distribution channels, buyers options and experience at retail, plus product design, as well as combined marketing in the media. To me this is an aggressive business strategy it certainly is not a pussyfooted cotton pony ride! Imagine into the future a little; If the subsidized model runs its course, it means less consumer choice! Why? more control in one company; Google. How? If consumer product companies fold! then we are left with implied consent, information bending, agenda backed products, information control, thought leader control with greater centralization. Due to the fact that it is centralized media on a larger scale. In effect Google has figured out how to exponentially expand the size of corporate power, through synergy of big corporations from, oem’s, carrier’s, to the major retail super stores, all pushing in the same direction witch benefits Google, while undermines consumer product companies who make revenue by selling products. I like buying a product, paying a person for their skill and time, with no strings attached, I.e; apps that don’t collect use data. Pay the person outright, F the continual feed of use data. I know this is my opion, and allot of people like the implied consent use data model, but in time it wont be viewed in such favorable light. Don’t be myopic! Think for a minute and you can see Google doesn’t need your empathy, it is systematically dominating the market! Would you let some one take your lunch money? Now imagine fortunes to be made and kept, do you think its not going to evoke a fight? of course it is, all the players in this game know the stakes, smart full grown people going after fortunes, Google doesn’t get a free pass from me, its another capitalist company in the game of fortunes, and they know what they are doing!

  2. One thing is to join the platform that other company massively launched with a strong and original competitor (like I believe that Microsoft will do with Windows 8 on tablet devices) but it is the whole other situation, if you copy a product, add a different logo on it and call it competition. Plagiarism is plagiarism in any form and it’s disgusting.

    I’m with Steve on this and I hope that Apple will continue his battle against those desperate people.

  3. boohoo hoo , what a little spoiled child he was. Bill gates, gave apple money to keep them floating. Bill gates gave them office for the mac. Which kept apple afloat. Bill gates is now retired and spending his wealth on trying to rid the world of malaria . Who, should be getting praise for what they have done?

  4. 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.” (

    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,, 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).

    • 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.

      • ولد كندة

        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.

      • 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.

      • Ritwik Sengupta

        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…

    • 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.

  5. Will White

    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 ….

  6. 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.

    • AppleFUD

      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!

      • 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.