Thursday, April 14, 2011

Angry over Android, Jobs kept then-board member Schmidt in the dark about the iPad

If you wonder just how angry Apple CEO Steve Jobs was when Google added pinch-to-zoom (PTZ) to Android, which already competed directly with Apple's iOS, wonder no longer. According to a new book, "In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives," Steve Jobs was furious, and withheld information about iPad development from Eric Schmidt, despite the fact that then-Google CEO Schmidt was still on Apple's board at the time.

The timeline, however, seems murky. The first Android device, the T-Mobile G1, went on sale in September 2008 sans pinch-to-zoom. The Motorola Droid, with Android 2.0, launched with pinch-to-zoom support, but only at the system level, not at the apps level. The then so-called Google phone, the Nexus One, launched in January 2010, sans pinch-to-zoom. Pinch-to-zoom was finally added to the Nexus One in a February 2010 software update.

The iPad was launched in April 2010, and Schmidt was off of the board in August of 2009. So when did Jobs see an Android device with pinch-to-zoom? According to the book, the first builds of Android had pinch-to-zoom, and Jobs saw it and blew up.

Since the G1 was launched without PTZ, did Google remove it after Jobs became angry? Once again, that's what the book says.

Whether or not Steve Jobs was angry about PTZ, he was angry about Android in general. After introducing the iPad, he held a town hall meeting with employees. There, he said,
We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.
Either way, Jobs was furious. How he kept iPad development secret from Schmidt is unclear.

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