A very personal Google Android vs. Apple iPhone war just got some more personality

A very personal Google Android vs. Apple iPhone war just got some more personality

Summary: Tim Bray, who co-invented XML and is a well-known blogger, has joined Google's Android team and wasted no time taking on Apple's iPhone.


Tim Bray, who co-invented XML and is a well-known blogger, has joined Google's Android team and wasted no time taking on Apple's iPhone.

In a blog post (Techmeme), Bray, also a former Sun Microsystems employee, said he joined Google for Android and likes the rapid development and fact the mobile operating system is open source. He'll also enjoy duking it out with Apple. The money passage from Bray:

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

I hate it.

I hate it even though the iPhone hardware and software are great, because freedom’s not just another word for anything, nor is it an optional ingredient.

The big thing about the Web isn’t the technology, it’s that it’s the first-ever platform without a vendor (credit for first pointing this out goes to Dave Winer). From that follows almost everything that matters, and it matters a lot now, to a huge number of people. It’s the only kind of platform I want to help build.

Apple apparently thinks you can have the benefits of the Internet while at the same time controlling what programs can be run and what parts of the stack can be accessed and what developers can say to each other.

I think they’re wrong and see this job as a chance to help prove it.

When I read that riff I couldn't get past the word hate. That word is so personal and something you don't hear in the business world all that much (at least on record). We all kind of knew there was some Google-Apple hatred brewing, but Bray cuts to the chase and the essence of what the feud is about.

Bray will bring something to Android that it doesn't necessarily have today---a personality. And a little personality will matter because as the New York Times detailed on Sunday the Apple vs. Google thing has become intensely personal. Apple is out for blood and Google isn't going to back down. Meanwhile, TechCrunch notes RJ Pittman, a product manager for Google, has just jumped ship to Apple.

For those of you that have been around for a while, the Apple iPhone vs. Google Android war looks a lot like the Microsoft-Apple battles decades ago. Apple went closed ecosystem and Microsoft went with the "we'll flood you with partners" approach. Nowadays, Google is playing up the Microsoft flood the zone approach with an open source twist.

The Times wrote:

According to interviews with two dozen industry watchers, Silicon Valley investors and current and former employees at both companies — most of whom requested anonymity to protect their jobs or business relationships — the clash between Mr. (Eric) Schmidt and Mr. (Steve) Jobs offers an unusually vivid display of enmity and ambition.

The story is quite a hoot. Even Silicon Valley veterans are shocked at how toxic the Google-Apple relationship has become.

And now given Apple's HTC lawsuit---clearly aimed at Google and Android---the battle lines are clearly drawn.

Bray brings a little spunk to the discussion. He's a developer advocate at Google and isn't going to mince words. A very personal battle just got someone to stoke the fire.

End note: Bray worked for Sun when it was acquired by Oracle. Oracle extended him an offer, but Bray declined. He said he'll tell the story "when I can think about it without getting that weird spiking-blood-pressure sensation in my eyeballs." Can't wait for that one.

Related: Was Intel's x86 the "gateway drug" for Apple's ARM?

Apple's HTC lawsuit: Is it biting off more than it can sue?

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Apple, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • iPad is a walled garden too -nt

    no text
    • Walled garden - or 50 foot high walls - which is it?

      Your description just made me think about the Win 7 ad claiming 50
      foot high walls.

      The concept of walls is clearly desirable, the argument is over which
      walls do what, and how well.

      Google (through Safari) tells me not to go to certain sites - so even
      Google sees the need for limits - I know they are warnings which you
      can ignore with a bit of effort, but the need remains.

      What are the laws in the US regarding the wire transmission of
      pornographic material? Or maybe proposed legislation? I should
      research this, maybe there is something going into Apple's recent
      changes of rules.

      The sudden change was probably based on something external.
      • Android fans simply want their porn...

        let's not pretend this is about anything but the feeble protestations of old perverted men.
        • ...and Apple insists on burkas

          When it comes to extremes, check out the picture in this article. You could put Android next to the woman in the bikini, and iPhone next to the woman in the burka.

          • Oh really? Sorry to say but Google isn't any different.

            Arm A. Geddon
          • Sorry

            But the legal difference between "should" not and "shall" not is huge. It's an open source OS. What are they REALLY going to do if it's a free app???
          • Remove it.

            Guess you didn't read the whole link did you?
            Arm A. Geddon
          • On either Android or JailBroken iPhone Porn's just a CC Charge away! ;)

            As stupid as it may seem, people do put porn on
            their phones. Which I find asinine. It's like a
            druggie/hype carrying a used needle in his shirt
            pocket w/ a blood staining his shirt.

            But yeah neither wants to be seen as condoning
            porn on their phones. Although some of the ads
            today are just as bad as porn! haha...
        • Pornaholics are aged from 18 to 50yo! lol :D ..and they got BIG BUCKS!

          I'm really doubtful that the multi-million dollar
          porn industry is being supported in any way by old
          age pensioners living on Social Security! lol

          Besides it's you FREAKS at MSFT that brought out
          the first "In Private" browser. Probably so you
          could visit porn sites w/o the wife knowing about
          it! ...for your info probably most men over 55
          can't get it up anyway. By that age they're either
          barely able to walk the dog, let alone get caught
          porna-cating by their wives! haha ;)

          Oh... and average purchase of Android devices is
          way lower than that of the iPhone! haha you lose!!!
      • RE: A very personal Google Android vs. Apple iPhone war just got some more personality

        It's <a rel="follow" href="http://www.chinasaledeal.com/led-lights/laser">laser pointer</a> the moment to spice up your <a rel="follow" href="http://www.chinasaledeal.com/apple/iphone">iphone accessories</a> existence
        Through <a rel="follow" href="http://women-ru.com/">russian brides</a> and <a rel="follow" href="http://bookville.info">steel buildings</a> as might relate to <a rel="follow" href="http://seo38.com/">this</a> | <a rel="follow" href="http://discoveralternatives.org/">that</a> | <a rel="follow" href="http://americanconflicts.us/">here</a> | <a rel="follow" href="http://coloradosuicide.com/">here</a>
        cheap mp3 players
    • I didn't know you have to "invent" XML

      Really, folks, tell me what's so special about XML? W/ all due respect, your 3-year old son can figure out how to organize a bunch of tags, and that's just how little effort it takes.
      • as in most truly innovative things...

        the revolution is in the simplicity. A spreadsheet is just a bunch of linked cells, right? Yet, what did we have before Visicalc? Calculators and grid paper.

        To understand why XML makes so much sense, you had to have worked with Tex or SGML, and markup specialists, before XML. The publishing equivalent of scribes and quill tip pens.

        What's great about XML? For one thing, you can describe XML with XML! How great is that?

        My 3 year old son can program in Groovy on Grails, but has yet to figure out XML. One more year, and he'll have caught up.
        • You can describe english in english - how groovy is that!

          You can describe XML in SGML also.

          You can describe both in english and every other language.

          XML is extremely useful because it gives you permission to put some
          descriptions in the data itself, and a standard way to do it.

          It is not very much more useful than CSV except that it is human
          readable, and lends itself to hierarchies.

          OS X makes extensive use of it - which makes this debate quite

          And yes something obvious after it's development is not necessarily
          obvious before. The simpler an invention appears after it's
          introduction the more useful and clever it may be.

          But the rest of the argument is a bit silly, who cares if you can
          describe something in itself? Unless that leads to self awareness it is
          just an interesting fact.

          XML is simple enough that a 3 year old should understand it if it is
          explained properly, they may not have the skills to write it reliably,
          but they should be able to read it. And your 3 year old's failure to
          understand something does not make it important or good.

          [i]To understand why XML makes so much sense, you had to have
          worked with Tex or SGML, and markup specialists, before XML. The
          publishing equivalent of scribes and quill tip pens.[/i]

          You really have had to avoid Tex really - I know people who typeset
          books in Tex when they would have been better off just using a
          decent page layout program and outputting Postscript, but were too
          blind to the Mac platform and therefore wasted years of their lives
          using DOS and Tex.

          XML is a subset of SGML, so why do you not approve of it over XML
          for it's ability to describe XML and HTML?

          In my previous post I made some pretty radical comments to make
          people think, funny I got less flaming than i thought and more
          support, but these posts supporting XML are just lame.

          I use and like XML - but see it for what it is, and not some justification
          of incorrect comments about oppression of the internet by control of
          App downloads, and made by an employee of a large corporate
          dominating the internet revenue streams of others.
      • and still screwed it up

        The article says "co-inventor." I wonder if he was the one who ignorantly polluted the standard with namespaces. Yes, somebody overlooked the fact that you don't need namespaces to differentiate elements with the same identifier, because those elements have the context of their parent.

        Then there's the mess created by having both attributes and elements. WTF do we need attributes for? How arbitrary.

        XML is a poorly thought-out mess.
  • I Hate XML

    I can think of several things that I hate much more than Apple and the iPhone. At the top of that list is XML. What a total abomination!
    • You Hate? XML

      What are you - an idiot? How can you hate XML? It's merely an open-standard way of transmitting data between two disconnected environments. How can you hate something like that?
      • I don't hate it XML - but I can think of lots of things it does badly

        For one, XML is easy to create badly, and often hard to do if you want
        to do it right.

        The whole DTD thing takes a simplified data exchange and enforces a
        whole lot of rules for standardising that make it a real chore, as a
        result the spec gets ignored, and non-standard XML gets used.

        The format is also very data intensive, it imposes a lot of overhead as
        it self describes every line with tags.

        For someone who imposes a whole ruleset that is impossible to
        implement on the world he might learn that other people don't like
        rules either.

        Nor do they like Google ruling the world of Search and online
        Advertising, with the resultant conflict of interest of seeing what ideas
        people are thinking about before they even consider developing them.

        Having said all of this - he is not wrong, the cleaned-up internet
        experience makes sense for many people and makes sense for
        phones, it does not make sense for all of the internet and all access

        The limits on the iPhone are application limits, the internet is still
        freely accessible from the device - and in that respect he is objecting
        to people downloading porn apps, not viewing porn sites, so this is
        not about internet freedom at all, even though he pretends it is.

        I have argued loudly on here about why the iPhone imposes limits,
        and I still think that is valid, what limits get imposed on the iPad will
        very much determine the markets that are appropriate for the device,
        if the intention is education, which I think it may very well be then the
        limits are valid. Outside that the limits are a choice - you buy the
        device for what it is, or you don't.

        Now if the iPad/iPhone censor's the internet, which is what the man
        who added field names to all data is screaming, then he will have a

        For now he is someone who said, let's include the field names with
        each line of data, and make the developer write a complex document
        to explain themselves, and he is stretching the truth to claim Google,
        his new bosses, are the providers of freedom, when in fact that are
        category killers in more than one category, and they know what you
        are looking for, because you tell them.
    • Rant

      You certainly don't hate attention. Your post is irrelevant.
    • Amen to THAT!

  • RE: A very personal Google Android vs. Apple iPhone war just got some more personality

    Consumers are driving the tech market. They are burned out on complexity. Simple is in. Get used to it.