New details have emerged regarding the development of Apple’s iPad and how Steve Jobs kept such details about its development from Apple board member Eric Schmidt due to Schmidt’s connection to Google.
In his book In the Plex, Steven Levy describes how Jobs was furious when he saw pinch-zoom features on an early model Android phone during a trip to Google’s main office. Jobs felt that in order to protect his product, he had to hide the development of the iPad from the Google Executive Officer, even though Schmidt was also on the board at Apple.
Of course, former Engadget editor Nilay Patel has a bit more to say on the subject over at his blog, notably this great breakdown of the situation based on his knowledge of how it happened:
“But I don’t think it’s as simple as all that — it feels like there’s a little media conflation going on. First, Android very famously shipped on the G1 in October 2008 without any pinch-to-zoom support at the system level at all, which of course sparked rumors that Apple had threatened patent litigation, but as far as I can tell Apple didn’t really have any PTZ patents until October 2010. Just over a year later, the Android 2.0 Droid launched with multitouch support at the system level but no pinch-to-zoom enabled at the apps level, an omission that prompted much hand-wringing, several hacks, and yes, yet another thrilling patent editorial by yours truly.”
What I don’t understand about all of this is why Levy would misrepresent the situation in his book if what Patel wrote above is contextually relevant to the situation? Why would Levy not devote some time to explaining the situation as Patel does so eloquently in his own blog post.
What is interesting to me is that Jobs would say something like ‘I don’t understand why Google is getting into phones; Apple isn’t getting into search engines.’ It’s as if he doesn’t understand Google’s mission of providing information and media as efficiently and effectively as possible to consumers. If you consider that mission, then it makes perfect sense for Google to take this next step.
Of course, Jobs did do a relatively smart thing to try to protect his product; however, to question Google on its business decision seems to be a bit lacking in common sense. Certainly there is some tongue-in-cheek tone to that remark, but all the same, no one is surprised at Google’s move.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online college. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.
Image by JaredEarle