Steve Jobs’ rage at Android was all “for show” –- Google CEO Page claims

Steve Jobs’ holy rage against Google’s Android mobile operating system was just some “differences” created “for show,” according to Google CEO Larry Page in an interview transcript published this week.

“I think that served their interests,” Page tells his interviewer, Brad Stone, of Bloomberg Businessweek. “For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.”

LEGACY: Steve Jobs gets bronzed

His casual comments, coming at the end of an online excerpt of a longer interview to be in print in an upcoming issue, have sparked controversy on the Web.

“Google CEO Larry Page apparently is trying to rewrite history,” charged Brent Dirks, at AppAdvice.com.

One of the most startling parts of Steve Jobs’ authorized biography last year was the extent and depth of his rage at Android, and by extension, its main creator and chief advocate, Google.

“"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, according to the book “Steve Jobs,” by Walter Isaacson. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Jobs’ conviction seems to have been, and so far remains, the driving force behind Apple’s stubborn, persistent and expensive patent battles with Android handset makers, on multiple continents.

In the most recent ruling in one U.S. case this week, a federal judge rejected arguments by Motorola, and upheld Apple’s patent claims for touchscreen technology that interprets the user's touchscreen commands by recognizing swipes that are not straight lines. That may sound arcane, but at least one patent blogger says that “Motorola will realistically be unable to avoid a finding of infringement and will have to come up with some really good invalidity arguments if it wants to avoid a disaster.”

“Disaster” fits more with Jobs’ vow of going thermonuclear on Android than with Page’s “differences,” however.

Here’s the full exchange at Bloomberg Newsweek:

 

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for “Network World.”

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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