Can Woz Broker a Peace Treaty Between Apple and Android?
It’s no secret that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs had declared thermonuclear war on Google, alleging that Android stole iPhone’s intellectual property, but Apple’s other co-founder Steve Wozniak may have a more sensible head. In a recent interview with BBC, Wozniak revealed that he hoped the two titans of tech could find some happy middle ground to work together in the future…if he ran Apple.
“I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future,” Wozniak revealed in his interview. “If I were there, it would be pretty likely.”
Though Woz was active in the founding of Apple, he has shown fairness and an openness to using competing technologies, including phones that run on rival platforms designed by Google and Microsoft.
However, Wozniak said that he may be unfamiliar with internal matters and business decisions, admitting that such a future may be unrealistic.
“There’s probably an awful lot I don’t know about the business concerns, and one thing you’ve got to remember is a company has always got to make money.”
Though Apple and Google had initially partnered for the iPhone where Google’s services dominated the iPhone–from search to maps to YouTube–the two companies had drifted apart in recent years. Google’s largest Android licensee Samsung also has undergone a similar rift with Apple. Though Samsung’s component business supplies Apple with parts for its products, Samsung also makes a Galaxy line of Android phones and tablets that compete directly with Apple’s iOS offerings. The rise of Android and Samsung’s dominance in the mobile space has created a complex situation for Apple as it competes with and at the same time partners together with its biggest rival.
At the heart of the Apple-Android feud is the question over patents and intellectual property. Apple has accused Google, Samsung, and other Android partners of stealing its intellectual property.
“I believe you should have a world where you’ve got to license something at a fair price, ” Wozniak continued. “There are good things I see on Samsung phones that I wish were in my iPhone. I wish Apple would use them and could use them, and I don’t know if Samsung would stop us.”
This may be more optimistic than reality may perceive. Apple perceives its iOS software as a unique selling point for its iPhone and I doubt Apple would be willing to license that to Samsung or any rival. Similarly, Samsung is only licensing non-essential patents related to standards–like 3G or 4G technologies–to other companies. The TouchWiz experience on Android is purely Samsung.
While this may be wishful thinking, if anyone could broker a deal for the detente between Apple, Google, and its ecosystem partners, it would be Woz.