Biography Reveals Steve Jobs Declared Thermonuclear War Against Android

Steve Jobs’ biography titled ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson, coming Monday, reveals the late Apple executive’s disdain and utter hatred for rival Google’s Android operating system. At one point, Jobs says that he is declaring thermonuclear war against Android.


When the iPhone came out in mid-2007 with what was then the iPhone OS, it joined the ranks of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform, Palm’s aging Palm OS, and the Symbian OS championed by Nokia on smartphones. Though the iPhone lacked the ability to run or download third-party apps, it gained a lot of traction mainly because of its simplicity, Apple’s debut of the finger rather than the stylus as an input mechanism in capacitive touchscreen technology, a beautiful design, and a marketing campaign that attracted consumers and geeks alike. At the time, Google’s then CEO Eric Schmidt also sat on Apple’s board, and the public saw a cozy relationship between two beloved tech companies, Apple and Google.

However, things deteriorated fast when Google introduced Android to the world about a year after Apple’s introduction of its unibody aluminum iPhone. With the premier of the HTC G1 for T-Mobile, Apple was described in mainstream media at the time to be livid that Google is competing with them. At the time, Jobs had said that Apple doesn’t encroach on Google’s turf–which was Internet search–and it had expected the same of Google.

So what was this turf and why should Google yield to Apple? Isaacson’s book ‘Steve Jobs’ reveals that Jobs views Android as a ‘stolen product’ that amounted to ‘grand theft.’ Jobs engaged in a shouting match with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2008 over Google’s release and push behind Android.


In the book, Jobs revealed, “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. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”


Since then, Apple has indirectly gone after Android and has filed lawsuits alleging infringement of intellectual properties against Google’s partners, such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. As a result, Google had announced its intentions to acquire Motorola Mobility and the company’s trove of patents to strengthen Android’s patent portfolio, which can then be used to protect Android licensees. Publicly, partners like HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson all support the move, though various Internet sites are reporting that privately these licensees are concerned that Motorola’s acquisition will give Motorola an unfair advantage over other licensees.

Eric Schmidt had tried to intervene on behalf of Google to settle the dispute, but Jobs was not interested in a monetary settlement, Isaacson reveals in the book. The meeting that Schmidt had with Jobs in a cafe in Palo Alto, California did nothing to resolve the matter, with Jobs saying, “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.

Jobs’ authorized biography also offers a rare glimpse into the private executive’s personal life, detailing his battle with cancer, his quest for alternative treatments, his struggles with religious life because of starving children in the world, and Jobs’ personal relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

The book, published by Simon & Schuster, will go on sale Monday for a list price of $35.

Via: NY Times, Washington Post, Venture Beat