back to article Google: 'We did not follow Apple into phone market'

Google co-founder Larry Page has denied that Google entered the phone market after Apple and the iPhone, accusing Steve Jobs of "rewriting history." In February, at an Apple town hall meeting, according to various company employees speaking with the press, Jobs dubbed Google's "don't be evil" mantra "bullshit," lambasting his …


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  1. zelrik

    I'd side with Google on that one

    Apple has an history of releasing products before others with less features and then blame the competition for copying them. They did that with the iphone (Google bought the startup working on android in 2005: , the iphone was released in 2007), and they will do it with the ipad (android tablets were announced way before the ipad was even rumored).

    Another way to look at it: Google's real aim is Microsoft, Apple is just getting 'friendly fire'.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: I'd side with Google on that one

      ...but the article says:

      "Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January 2007, and it arrived in stores that summer. Google announced its Android mobile operating system that November, and the first Android handset debuted from US carrier T-Mobile nearly a year later, in September 2008."

      As far as I can tell, Summer 2007 was before September 2008...

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge


        Not to mention Google bought Android, it was not developed from scratch. It probably took them a few months to write some apps for it, slap some branding on it and release it.

        1. Walt French

          Not only "slap a label on it..."

          The public info on the Android phones prior to the iPhone were not multi-touch oriented; they were keyboard-centric. Tiny netbooks, if you will.

          Many of us heard the Google comments at I/O and thought they were revisionist history themselves, in saying that Google did Android to prevent "one man, one company" from controlling the mobile internet. Well, that sure sounds like a "response" to Apple, to me, even if they had bought Android Inc in 2005. Since Google execs apparently say whatever suits their fancy, it seems...

          - Google bought Android in 2005, probably with the intention of extending their ad platform (how the firm makes money).

          - Google decided that after the iPhone, the features would need to be substantially greater than the prototypes Android, Inc. had come up with. They formed the alliance and upped the hardware spec, plus the software. (In response to Apple.)

          - Google finds it useful to contradict Apple's version of anything so Schmidt calls Job a liar.

          Given that his own people have mouthed the same history that Jobs cited, it sounds like utter marketing BS either way. I wouldn't trust a bit of it. Just one of the many ways that Google seems low-class in this whole phone thing, altho maybe that's what they think they have to do.

          Maybe Schmidt will issue a correction to the I/O presentations of his own people? That'd clarify things.

      2. zelrik

        so what?

        What you just said is not in contradiction with what I said. Learn how to read.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        It's one thing to announce....

        ....but I'm sure you can see that 2005 (acquisition of Android) was before 2007 (release of the iPhone) and with Apple's notorious secrecy that Google had little warning of what Apple were working on and when it would appear.

      4. Doug 3

        re: RE: I'd side with Google on that one

        if you only look at when a product shipped then yes, Apple beat Google to market. But, you can not say that Google was not developing nor did not have plans for products in the phone market as far back as 2005. We would have to know when Apple started work on the iPhone and when Schmidt knew about it to even begin to understand the motives of Google in the phone market.

        I also believe the Nexus One was just as much about pushing Android hardware vendors into pushing innovative technology as it was an attempt to free the phone from the carriers sales channels. Before the Nexus One shipped, none were shipping with Cortex a8 based ARM chips and performance was lacking. They were not elegant in design either and tended to be more utilitarian than sleek and something someone other than a geek would want. The Nexus One changed that and even pushed the iPhone back a notch. Many 3Gx based iPhone users have been amazed at how sleek the Nexus One is and how brilliant the display is. They showed slight signs of phone-envy. The iPhone 4 was probably something Apple would have liked to have shipped next year instead of this year.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      History isn't a matter of your agreement!

      Larry is absolutely correct to say that Google didn't follow Apple *into* the mobile market. The problem is what he didn't acknowledge; the fact that Google and the Android development team, instead of copying RIM as they were, saw the success of Apples interpretationof the touch screen UI and switched development to that model after the success! And WinMo fanboys, if it uses a stylus, it's doing it wrong...

      Facts, old chap, make history. Not what Larry, Eric, Sergey *or* Steve say and merely because you agree with a statement doesn't make it fact...

  2. barth

    do you really think

    it took only 18 months to create Android from scratch ?

    1. Campbeltonian

      Being pedantic... wasn't built from scratch at all, it's based on Linux.

    2. Volker Hett


      Neither do I think the iPhone materialized out of a puff of thin air.

      1. D@v3
        Thumb Down

        that was going to be my point...

        the dates being mentioned are the / Purchase / of Android (2005) and the / Announcement / and later /release/ of the iPhone (both) in 2007. and saying that because of that, Android came first.

        Do these same people believe that the iPhone was pulled, fully formed from St Jobs Ass the day before the announcement and was then ready for release that summer? (yes, I know some people probably still think that the iPhone comes out of Jobs' ass, but that's not the point here)

        I am not a mobile phone designer, engineer, coder, tester, or anything like that, but purely the fact that such people exist, leads me to believe that there were probably a good few years, in which the iPhone 'existed' in much the same state, as Android did in the years between the purchase in 2005, and the release of their first phone.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      They bought it!

      They bought Android in 2005.

      Seems a pretty poor show to take three years to make it into a product.

      1. Doug 3

        Re: They bought it!

        yes, they bought it in 2005 but no doubt they had to readjust things when Apple shipped the iPhone and the market went nuts. Before that, Crackberry's were the target to shoot for so I would not doubt that Google retargeted Android once the iPhone shipped. Do you think they failed at this? Considering all the Android phones I'm seeing and all the apps on the market, it was a good move no matter when it materialized.

  3. sage

    according to Wikipedia...

    From Wikipedia, "In July 2005, Google acquired Android, Inc."

    I'm not sure how long Android Inc had been working on the platform before that, but it clearly shows that they actually didn't "follow" Apple into the phone market.

    Now, you may argue that the term "follow" could be used in a chronological sense, but the article seems to use it otherwise: Jobs dubbed Google's "don't be evil" mantra "bullshit," lambasting his former Mountain View ally for treading on his turf.

  4. John Molloy

    All well and good...

    Save for the fact that up until the release of the iPhone all iterations of Android resembled a RIM knock off. It was only after the announcement of the iPhone in Jan 2007 that Android underwent a touch screen, iPhone clone transformation. So Larry is desperate to say we didn't copy but perhaps that would be better coming from a company that didn't have a board member sitting on Apple's board during the development of both platforms. Pot, kettle, black.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iPhone wasn't the first touch screen phone

      There were plenty of others before the iPhone, some even looked very much like an iPhone, so perhaps it's Apple that was doing the copying

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Thank you to underline that the only "innovation" in the smartphone market of Apple's initial iPhone was its touch screen...

      Google's got its CEO on Apple's board one full year after it had acquired Android. Time to check again your chronology.

      1. sparky66


        There were touch screen smart phones before the iPhone. The innovation was to make it useful by creating a whole new interface, having a decent browser and in the U.S. making AT&T offer a flat fee for internet/data access so that people would actually use it.

  5. Binkley

    Apple iPhone development dates to at least late 2004...

    ...when I was being recruited as a Product Manager from another wireless handset manufacturer. I don't know when Android was started, but the iPhone wasn't created in a day either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @Blinkley 2004

      You're referring to the E1 and Apple's ill-fated collaboration with Motorola, not the iPhone. Apple didn't start preliminary work an in-house product until early in 2006 and even then didn't drop the E1, multi-handset iTunes roadmap until the end of the year. Most of those who actually worked on the original iPhone were hired in 2006.

      Notable exception to that is probably FingerWorks who got bought out in mid 2005 and its their MT/Guesture work which made the iPhone.

      Either way both Google and Apple are very late to the mobile game - not that getting their early ever did MS any good.

  6. donot needtono

    Shoe on the other foot

    sounds like Job's paranoia of Goog like Bills for Job’s in the 80's

    Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them."


    Apple controls the hardware, OS, software, integrated to desktops, laptops, and Ipads Ibooks..iphones itunes

    no one not one has the same integration, without jobs there is no apple

    for starbucks no Howard Schultz no coffee.

    Jobs should be worried? unlimited budget for Goog copied the Iphone,

    but remember how the mac was created.... that’s right coped the Xerox Palo alto research project with programmers... Maybe that why he's (jobs) is paranoid

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speaking of historical revision

      It was once said keep keep your mouth shut and people will think you a fool open your mouth then you leave no doubt.

      -Ben Franklin

      Apple gave Xerox 500,000 shares of Apple stock to use the idea of a window interface not the code. I won't even bother with explaining the difference such as Xerox did not allow over lapping windows etc. Please do your research before you verbally vomit that way we will only think you are a fool.

  7. wilhelmreuch

    Google Copycat Inc.

    Until theciPhone was a success Google was making a cheesy copy of a Blackberry. There is pictures of on Gizmodo an probably more places. After the iPhone they started work on a cheesy copy of iPhone. Or AppleTV which is a copy of the AppleTV. Or Buzz whis is a copy of Twitter. Cretivity and innovation doesnt seem to exist at Google - must be a very boring place to work.

    1. Blaher
      Jobs Horns

      Look on the other side

      I think all companies copy for the most part, take a look at Apple.

      Guess where most of OS X code came from? Google "FreeBSD", sometime. Apple did have the right to use their code and sell (according to the FreeBSD license), but it was a little unethical of them to take ALL of the credit.

      Look at the OS X desktop UI and take a look at Gnome's desktop. Look familiar? Guess who came first in 1997, instead of 2001.

      1. Synthmeister
        Thumb Down


        Nope. Apple OS X got it's code and many UI ideas from the purchase of Next Computer (and Steve Jobs as an "advisor") which had licensed it from FreeBSD/Unix.

        Google had nothing to do with anything in the Apple code.

    2. smokes


      you are retarded.

      they did not copy twitter.. they just wanted to have all the information 'on their teritory'

      indexing all the twitter information ( which is practicaly the internet) cost a lot of resourses..

      they created buzz so that they also could've had that information already on their base.. so that the Google Search could 'search' for more..

    3. david wilson


      >>"Cretivity and innovation doesnt seem to exist at Google - must be a very boring place to work."


      Far better to be at Apple, where they totally invented the whole idea of GUIs, mobile phones, and MP3 players.

      And before /that/, breathing, fire, and opposable thumbs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        "And before /that/, breathing, fire, and opposable thumbs."

        As this is Apple, such innovations were probably released in the year 2AD, when they were subsequently copied by everyone else for thousands of years. No-one breathed, used fire or had opposable digits before Apple. Nu-uh.

        1. david wilson

          @AC 13:48

          But that's the genius of Apple - their absolutely novel inventions are *so* good that they don't merely get copied by people in the *future*, but also by people in the *past*.

  8. Blaher

    Apples Vs Oranges

    I remember following the "google phone" long before I even heard of the iPhone. We all expected Google to release a hardware phone, but we never got it.

    In fact, Google released a branded and modified version of the Linux OS (software). Apple sells the iPhone (hardware). Even though Google may work closely with HTC and other companies, they give freedom for you to choose your own hardware at a competitive price. You can even get Android for free and port it to your own phone (or computer). Apple on the other hand makes everything them selves and if they don't, they end up buying it sooner or later. I would call that monopoly when their phone dominates MOST of the market, but nothing has ever been done.

    Instead Apple fan boys go on trashing the Android phones and I can tell you there are a hell lot more Android developers than Apple ones. Being Android is free and open-source, anybody can contribute ideas or technology. That make for a far better support and development machine.

  9. Cloggie

    Google is no Snow White

    but mr, Jobs is reminds me more of her evil stepmother each day.

    No Apples for me.

  10. Bugsy

    BUT >>>

    Google invented the internet too! really, I mean it

    Google fan boys, out!

    Everyone followed Apple's IPHONE. EVERYONE.

    Talk about re-writing history. I don't give a crap if they were thinking about Android in the 70s, they and everyone else built their devices to compete with and adjust to the the iphone.

    THis has nothing to do with the quality of Google's latest releases which I understand are quite good. But why are they standing up and shouting about how they didn't follow iphone? Who asked you? What are you so defensive about? JUst shut up and make phones. CHrist...


      Can't take the heat? Go home.

      > Google invented the internet too! really, I mean it

      ...not at all. Google was just one of many (search engines). Even now it's pretty trivial to replace.

      If Apple thinks it can do search better, it should get into that market. There's no reason for it to avoid that market out of some sort of Sugar Trust style "gentleman's agreement" or any other similar nonsense.

      It's undignified for Apple or Jobs to whine about Google "being on their turf". It's quite unbecoming.

  11. Spider

    so the point is what exactly?

    I'm struggling to see Apples point? So what if another company made an internet enabled phone? Are they claiming that that product should be the preserve of them alone? I hope more companies have a crack at it. The more the merrier. Don't really have a drum to beat for any particular make or OS, I'll use whatever I like the look of (HTC for the time being... next who knows?) Competition breeds progress, and who doesn't want that?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    big jobs

    Naughty Google for treading on Job's turf. It's not like he would ever push Apple into the ad market would he?

    oh wait.

  13. John Bailey
    Jobs Horns


    Who did Apple copy? Because I can distinctly remember seeing pre 2007 touch screen phones.

  14. Yas

    Copying != Lack of Innovation

    Who cares who copied who, through the history of technology we can see all sorts of stuff being 'copied'. There is nothing wrong with taking an idea and tweaking it for your own needs or the needs of a group of people. That is one of the beauties of Open Source, no one 'controls' technology, rather it is their for others to build on. Its things like Patents that are preventing technology and innovation, forcing people not to copying aspects of technology

    In fact there should be MORE copying, i encourage it... If it offers something different, something that can be utilised by others in a manner not identical to the original. In the mobile space, that is what Android offers, like WebOS, like new Windows Mobile or MeeGO.

    Of course i am not talking about those cheap Chinese knock offs you find down the sunday market... All the offer is toxic paint dye or a sharp object in the eye


    Jobs is the biggest hypocrite !

    Apple's history originated copying/stealing from Xerox PARC research center !

    They grew criticizing large players and Jobs' rules change when he gets to dominate a certain area. "We did not enter Search" ? ! what does that mean? ... he can? and he is doing a favor for Google by not doing it? He would have done it long back if he could !! ...and he wants Google to not enter the phone market?... doesn't this smack of anti-competitive behavior? - the accusation he has been claiming all his life ? Jobs will take Apple into any market he thinks he can exploit... if he cries foul it is only because he doesn't know how and is afraid of the challenge to Apple's dominance. Apple's real motto... "Think Different ! - when you become dominant !".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      While i dislike Jobs and all his works, please stop saying he Stole the ideas from Xerox. He didnt.

      Apple *PAID* for the ideas from xerox with shares. This is one of the reasons that the Xerox lawsuit failed. Xerox just didnt realise the value of what they were doing at PARC until it was far too late.

      It can be argued that Xerox got ripped off, but we can say lots of things in hindsight.

      And its a damn good thing they did, because Xerox didnt seem to be terribly interested in PARC and all its works, and If apple didnt use the inspiration to produce a GUI, chances are we would all have been using CLI's for a lot longer than we were.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ... "Big tech company uses someones ideas and claims them as their own when someone else uses them after" ...

    Lets face it, most of Apple's tech is bought, borrowed, stolen, cajoled. Sure, they create their own stuff too, but what they are really good at, is putting the ideas together in a cohesive, and *sometimes* groundbreaking way.

    It's a crazy analogy, but I liken them to David Bowie (back when he was good) - he was the ultimate musical magpie, taking the cultural zeitgeist and "re-inventing" it - take what's good out there and making it better.

    Perhaps a better analogy would be the Asian market of 30 to 40 years ago - taking western ideas, perfecting them and eventually making products better, cheaper and quicker - although with apple, cheaper and quicker don't apply ;)

    All Google are doing is what Microsoft and Apple are doing - they've got the momentum and the finances to do whatever they like. They can hire the best and brightest. They can buy out smaller companies and leverage the tech.

    I think it great, because it proves that there's always competition, innovation and a bit of dirty laundry to air.

    You'd think that these behemoths (Google, Microsoft, Apple) would stifle innovation - on paper, that would seem to be the case. The reality is, they encourage innovation, because there's hundreds of smaller companies hoping to get their ideas to market, tripping over themselves for some venture capital, even if it means being consumed. Heck, if I had a small successful start-up and Google offered me huge swathes of cash for it, I'd jump at the chance.

    Jobs is just being Jobs - an irritating egocentric. Perhaps he is a genius, but with all genius, comes madness - it seems apparent he's borderline.

    Google are more microsoft than Apple, which is why both Apple and microsoft fear them.

    For the rest of us, the "do no evil" mantra? - I'd have to agree with Jobs on that, pure marketing bollocks - but then, that's good old black pot / kettle territory...

  17. Haku

    Jobs thinks the world belongs to him

    Sad really that he can't comprehend that not everybody wants to own/use Apple products for their music/computing/communication.

  18. R Cox

    Play the number game, Google still loses

    In 2005 Apple and Motorola released a POS phone, but ir was a phone. Presumable work started on this phone prior to 2005. Apple did the reasonable thing, just like Google did the reasonable thing in acquiring Android, as neither had mobile phone experience, though Apple did have much more consumer mobile device experience, not to mention consumer hardware experience, as they actually designed consumer devices. Google loses this race as it bought Android after Apple started working with Motorola.

    The Motorola phone served it purpose and helped Apple gain knowledge to produce the iPhone. Google loses this race as Android phones were released after the iPhone.

    Of course it is all moot because Google said it will not make Android hardware, so any Android phone that has been branded by Google must be a figment of our imagination. I must give Google credit. Unlike MS who always wait until the competing product is out and freely available to copy, Google is much more proactive.

  19. Watashi

    Apple anti-competitive

    "We did not enter the search business," Jobs said. "[Google] entered the phone business. Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them."

    So Steve Jobs thinks that it's wrong for companies to directly compete with each other. This is a Capitalist economy, not a Communist one - no-one gets to decide who enters the market, and no market belongs to any company, not matter how special they think they are.

    And the Fanbois wonder why so many people hate Apple.

    1. Synthmeister

      Broken Trust

      I believe the reason why Steve is so furious with Google is because there was a very close relationship with Google's founders and CEO Schmidt but after seeing the first iPhone, they clearly ripped off that concept for that device instead of ripping off the Blackberry concept. Instead of investing into the iPhone ecosystem, they wanted to compete. This is very similar to what happened with Bill Gates. Apple let him see the crown jewels of the Mac OS so that he could write software specifically for the Mac. But Gates saw how great the concept was and ripped off the whole interface idea of the Mac. Of course, there were a dozen other blunders (mostly self-inflicted) that Apple did in the 80s and 90s, but that blunder allowed MS to offer a "good enough" solution to the PC universe and avoid considering Macs.

      That's why Apple controls almost all strategic parts of the Mac ecosystem (except for AT&T!) and could very, very quickly replace apps like Office or PS if they had to.

      1. Paul M 1

        Not to mention

        suing the makers of GEM - thus completely clearing the path for Microsoft's Windows to take over :-)

  20. Lloyd

    who cares;

    At the end of the day the better product will win and that's all that will matter, if they stop bitching and concentrate on that then we'd all win.

    1. James Hughes 1


      The better product doesn't always win. (Betamax anyone). In this case, I have a feeling Android may take it - although not quite as good as iPhoney stuff, I think the more open development, multiple manufacturers, ease of making and selling apps, will prove to be the difference. And of course, with many more developers of the OS over those difference manufacturers, I would expect it to catch up with the iPhone and overtake it with respect to features and usability.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So Apple moan about Google entering the phone are they claiming that they were the first ones there? No, they encroached on other companies markets in exactly the same way they are complaining Google have done to them.

    Yes, the iphone had some great design features which other companies have since replicated, but then it also had a number of features replicated from other pre-existing phones and devices.

    Apple only have a point if they go to every phone manufacturer who was in the market before them and apologise.

  22. Coldhand

    Google vs Apple

    Would it matter if Google entered the phone market after Apple or before? For us consumers, either way it's a benefit. Nobody wants to pay a fortune, everyone wants newer apps, newer innovations, different mobile phones etc

    All in all, just as Lloyd in the above post stated, "the better product will win and that's all that will matter".

  23. Ian Davies

    It's fascinating... people insert words or meaning into quotes that were never part of the original, just so that it makes a better fit for their world view.

    I invite everyone to re-read the "quote" that is attributed to Jobs:

    "We did not enter the search business, they entered the phone business."

    Bearing in mind that this whole thing was paraphrased second hand from a private company meeting (and is therefore likely to be somewhat apocryphal) where, exactly, does Job make any reference to the chronology?

    1. James Hughes 1

      But still

      Is there some corporate rule that says Apple are not allowed competitors? Or that Google cannot be one of them (but in fact they are not competitors really - they just produce the software that runs on phones). Or indeed, that Apple cannot compete in the search or Ad's world?


      Oh well. Guess Apple will have to compete, just like everyone else does.

      1. Ian Davies

        Reading comprehension improves understanding.

        "Is there some corporate rule that says Apple are not allowed competitors"

        No. Is there something in Jobs's quote that suggests he thought there was? Talk about a strawman argument.

  24. mhenriday

    No matter who came first - it would seem neither Apple nor Google

    - isn't that how markets are supposed to work - manufacturers, service providers, et al, following each other into those to which the public has flocked ? A monopoly is not a market....


  25. ColonelClaw

    Why is anyone arguing over this?

    The iPhone came out over a year before Android, and you can be sure they were working on it at Apple for quite a long time before that. What's the argument?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Danger! Danger! (Will Robonson)

    don't forget that the Android team were essentially the talent who jumped ship from Danger before their CEO sold it to Microsoft (where it took all that time to create the short lived KIN before being blamestormed for everything wrong with Microsoft's Mobile strategy)

    Like it or not these guys invented the smartphone as we know it today, complete with the loyal fanboy posse. The Sidekick (also just end-of-life'd by T-Mobile) managed to become the youth equivalent of the Blackberry with a bunch of hardware and software innovations that HTC and others are only just now "re-inventing"

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