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NYT: Steve Jobs feels Google betrayed Apple by mimicking iPhone


Apple co-founder Steve Jobs feels that Google "violated the alliance" it had with Apple when the search giant began producing cellphones that resemble the iPhone, according to a The New York Times piece that details the bitter rivalry between the two technology giants.

In an extensive piece profiling the battle between Apple and Google, dubbed by one person as "World War III" due to the level of animosity involved, multiple sources told the Times that Jobs feels betrayed by Google.

"We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business," Jobs was quoted as saying at a company meeting. "Make no mistake; Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won't let them."

The report also corroborated previous claims that Jobs used an expletive to dismiss Google's "don't be evil" mantra. The comment from the Apple co-founder reportedly earned "thunderous applause" from the company employees present at the meeting.

The Times noted that Jobs seems to be "unusually emotional" in the battle with Google. It said the company's lawsuit against HTC portrayed Apple as "an aggrieved victim finally standing up to the playground bully."

The report alleged that Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page considered Jobs a mentor, and were regular visitors to the company's Cupertino, Calif., campus. And while the relationship between Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt was said to be pleasant, the two were reportedly "never close friends."

Relations between the two companies allegedly turned sour when the Android mobile operating system was first introduced. A series of heated meetings between Apple and Google executives took place soon after.

"Many of those meetings turned confrontational, according to people familiar with the discussions, with Mr. Jobs often accusing Google of stealing iPhone features," the report said. "Google executives said that Android’s features were based on longstanding ideas already circulating in the industry and that some Android prototypes predated the iPhone."

"At one particularly heated meeting in 2008 on Google’s campus, Mr. Jobs angrily told Google executives that if they deployed a version of multitouch — the popular iPhone feature that allows users to control their devices with flicks of their fingers — he would sue. Two people briefed on the meeting described it as 'fierce' and 'heated.'"

It was the introduction of Android, the Chrome browser, and Google's plans to release its own netbook operating system that forced Schmidt off of Apple's board of directors last August. It was soon after that the two began competing for acquisitions.

While it was previously known that Apple talked with AdMob about a potential acquisition, the Times revealed more details on the talks:

"While Apple conducted due diligence on the deal, AdMob agreed to a 45-day 'no shop' provision, a routine clause that prevented the start-up from offering itself for sale to others, according to three people briefed on the negotiations. But after Apple inexplicably let 45 days pass without consummating its offer, Google pounced."

Google purchased AdMob for $750 million three days after the "no shop" provision with Apple expired. One executive told the Times that Google was willing to pay the premium just to keep the company away from Apple. Soon after the deal was struck, Apple responded by acquiring competing mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless.

The report even mentions the persistent rumors that Apple could partner with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine and maps provider for the iPhone. As usual, Apple declined to comment on anything for the story.

"And it would present an unlikely sight: Steve Jobs and Apple, running from the arms of Eric Schmidt and Google, into the embrace of Steve Ballmer and Microsoft," the report concluded.