So, how serious is the legal battle between Apple and the various Android phone makers, really? Surely, it’s just logical business sense that’s behind it, right? Calculated, well-planned precision strikes designed to hurt Android where simply making better, more innovative products isn’t enough? Well, no, not really. We already knew Steve Jobs took this personal – now we know just how personal.
As most of you are probably aware, Walter Isaacson has written an authorised biography of Steve Jobs, and of course, with Jobs’ recent passing, the interest in this biography is skyrocketing. As Isaacson is making his rounds in the publicity circuit, he’s already let out a few key quotes – and Jobs’ view on the legal battles is telling.
As the book details, Jobs didn’t get really pissed until HTC started putting out popular Android phones, starting January 2010. From that point onwards, Jobs was furious. “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 says in the book, “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
Jobs was furious about both Android and Google Docs (?!), and in a meeting Jobs and Schmidt had in a cafe in Palo Alto, the two tried to come to some sort of conclusion. It didn’t work out – a settlement was out of the question, according to Jobs. “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 said.
Several people already hinted at the idea that Apple’s hatred for Android was more of a personal matter, and not a calculated business strategy. It’s interesting to see just how warped Jobs’, and thus Apple’s, view on the technology world really is – Apple steals and copies ideas left and right, but apparently, it’s not okay if it happens the other way around. It’s hypocrisy in its purest form.
This also casts a new light on the future of all these lawsuits. I highly doubt anyone other than Jobs would be willing to spend this much money on a grudge and get away with it – everyday my non-geek friends confirm it: these lawsuits are not particularly good PR for Apple. Will Tim Cook be just as ruthless? I doubt it.
Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography will be in stores coming Monday.