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Will Steve Jobs’ final vendetta haunt Google?
Question of the Day
It’s also possible that Jobs‘ criticisms of Google may be seen as hypocritical. That’s because some of Apple’s computing breakthroughs were based on technology developed by others. The Mac’s easy-to-use interface and its mouse controller, for instance, came out of Xerox Corp.
The bitter divide between two of the most beloved and successful technology companies would have seemed inconceivable a few years ago.
In 2006, Google and Apple were on such friendly terms that Jobs welcomed Schmidt to Apple’s board of directors with these words: “Like Apple, Google is very focused on innovation and we think Eric’s insights and experience will be very valuable in helping to guide Apple in the years ahead,” Jobs said.
But in 2008, a year after the iPhone came out, Google unveiled plans to release Android as a free software system that phone makers can use to make devices that compete with the iPhone. Jobs was so infuriated that he went to Google’s Mountain View headquarters _ about nine miles from Apple’s Cupertino office_ to try to stop the project, according to the biography.
Jobs’ persuasive powers failed to sway Google’s leaders.
Now, more than 550,000 devices running on Android are being activated each day. Apple, meanwhile, sold about 3 million fewer iPhones than anticipated in the July-September quarter, contributing to a sharp drop in the company’s stock. The newest Android challenger to the iPhone, the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung, is scheduled to go on sale next month.
After Google’s Jan. 20 announcement that Page would replace Schmidt as CEO in April, Page called Jobs for some pointers. Jobs told Isaacson that his first instinct was to reject Page with a curt expletive, but he reconsidered as he recalled his times as a young entrepreneur listening to the advice of elder Silicon Valley statesmen including Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Jobs didn’t mince words when Page arrived at Jobs‘ Palo Alto home. He told Page to build a good team of lieutenants. In his first week as Google’s CEO, Page reshuffled his management team to eliminate bureaucracy. Jobs also warned Page not to let Google get lazy or flabby.
“The main thing I stressed was to focus,” Jobs told Isaacson about his conversation with Page. “Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out adequate products that are adequate but not great.”
Page has shut more than 20 Google products and services in his first six months as Google’s CEO as part of an effort to “put more wood behind fewer arrows.” It was the type of discipline Jobs instilled on Apple when he returned in 1997 after a dozen years of exile. Jobs killed such products as the Newton handheld device and the PC clones that were allowed to run on Apple’s operating system.
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