Is Android a stolen product?

Is Android a stolen product?

Summary: Jobs: "I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

TOPICS: Android, Google

Excerpts of the upcoming Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson are doing the rounds, and it's all fascinating stuff. But there's one but that I keep coming back to, and that is what Steve Jobs thought of Google's Android mobile operating system.

It's clear that Jobs really didn't like Android:

"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 [at the time ... this has grown massively since], to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

In a meeting in March of 2010 with Eric Schmidt, then Google's chief executive, at a cafe in Palo Alto, California, Jobs made it clear he wasn't interested in settling lawsuits:

"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."

And it's this mindset that has led to the seemingly endless patent infringement lawsuits between Apple and Android device makers. As I've pointed out before, Apple doesn't need the hassle of scrabbling for nickels and dimes in patent loot (like Microsoft is doing) because the company already has more cash than it knows what to do with. Apple's not litigating for money, it's doing so to keep the iPhone unique.

The areas of conflict between Apple and Android are well known and include features such as numbers and addresses being turned into clickable links, icons on a touch screen and the use of the pinching gesture for resizing.

But is it 'stealing'?

[UPDATE: Some readers have asked for my opinion here (so they can flame me ... LOL!). Honestly, I don't know. The iPhone was certainly revolutionary in its time in that it was a complete touchscreen device, and since then hundreds of clones have sprung up. But patents are tough to interpret and it is hard to distinguish between inspiration and rip-off. Some aspects of Android, based on my reading of patents, certainly do seem to have stolen from the iPhone. But patents are notoriously complex and ultimately these issues have to be decided by a court.]

[poll id="701"]

Topics: Android, Google

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  • Your argument please

    1. I'm tired of ZDNET bloggers putting up flamebait to polarise readers in useless argument.
    AKH: please put up YOUR case ... we prefer to flame you ;-)

    2. The patent situation is in a terrible mess and currently holds back progress by many corporations (fearing lawsuits).

    3. There is a presumption by global corporates that once they have established a major platform it should be up to them how to milk it. I think the reverse: once a major platform has been established ... in the case of PC on top of CPU's, disks, memory, UNIX OS principles not originally developed by the platform owner ... then it is incumbent on said platform owner to be a good citizen. M$ was OK to start then became evil; Apple is the worst example I can bring to mind of an arrogant, manipulative, greedy citizen (I won't have anything to do with them unless it suits me).
    • RE: Is Android a stolen product?


      Just to correct, I do agree with the 3rd point as well, except the last sentence, since I own an iPad... 8-)
      <br>Great point (s)!<br>I have to disagree with the third one...<br>My phone is a Android HTC Desire HD and I love it!<br>I also love my iPad and so far no Android ones could beat it.<br>The idea that Android would be a stolen product is just ridiculous and demonstrates one's inability to understand fundamentals of business and technology.<br>If the arguments are to be supported, then iOS is a stolen product, not android, which is more closely lated to Unix than Apple's iOS.<br>It seems Jobs liked to repackage someone else's inventions and claim ownership of it.<br>I rather think not, but it seems people just want to idolatrate successful business mans like gods, no matter how they've got to that.<br>Let's be reasonable, Jobs did a great work in packaging the iOS in the form of iPhones, iPods and iPads, but he did not invented the concept!<br>I remember some tablets being used in old Star Treks movies, well before Apple, Jobs and the whole computer industry were considering it.
      • And if someone came up with a real warp engine..

        @hzmonteiro that allowed faster than light flight.. they should not get a patent for that of course because some other guy made a cheap movie prop with blinky lights an jelly beans for knobs many years earlier that pretended to do the same thing.. tell me no one could be that stupid..
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @doctorSpoc This is the major difference between a functional patent and design patents, business patents, or software patents. The first on requires a working implementation. The others are actually _less difficult_ than making a movie prop.<br><br>A specific kind of warp engine? Patentable. FTL drives or warp drives in general? Shouldn't be patentable. A patent on delivering goods from one planet to another using FTL travel? Shouldn't be patentable. A "design patent" for putting the engine in the rear of a spaceship? You've got to be kidding.
      • Agreed, concepts cannot be patented;

        @hzmonteiro: ... however, methods can--and Apple clearly attempted to patent almost every method they used in the designing and making of the hardware and software in their iOS devices.

        I also have to argue with your statement, <i>"... iOS is a stolen product, not android, which is more closely lated to Unix than Apple's iOS."</i> Android is based on <i>Linux</i> not Unix whereas OS X is a certified UNIX and iOS is a derivative of OS X.

        Did Steve Jobs invent the concept? Obviously not. But he did invent the methods which made the iPhone work as smoothly as it does and were were essentially copied by Android.
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @vulpine By all means - explain what "methods" you feel Apple invented which make the iPhone "work smoothly" which were "stolen" by anyone else.

        Do you even known what's underneath iOS and Android? Have you ever seen a line of Java, or Objective C?

        I'm honestly curious - what do you think you're talking about?
      • There is a point where common sense should come into play


        A [i]concept[/i] created for a movie, say a small touch screen tablet (as was seen in many an eposode of Star Trek through out the franchises) should not be patentable by one company if actually created to the point that others can not produce a tablet.

        [b]How[/b] that company's tablet works can and should be patentable, but should not be able to clain the idea as their own it was taken from someone else's design and idea, that of the writer/prop designer's scetches and mock-ups.

        Tim Cook
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @hzmonteiro Totally agree.
    • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

      @johnfenjackson@...on your point number 3. It all comes down to if YOU feel you are getting your moneys worth when you buy a product or service. For instance take a record album you really love and enjoy listening to over and over again. Is you loving and owning this thing incumbent on there not being any greed, arrogance or manipulation in the over all creation, production and delivery of that piece of music? Probably not. It is not a black and white world.
    • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

      Job$ was very evile second only to Gate$.
      His distorted reality made him fight the people's urge for FOSS and innovation.
      LlNUX Geek
      • Unfair to Gates ... and illustrating my point

        Whilst I feel Gates succumbed to corporate greed while at M$ ... he must now surely be ranked in the top 10 philanthropists.

        That's my point: once a company or person has 'made it big' then it is time to start being a good citizen. It would also be unfair to Jobs I think to say he might not have done the same eventually ... for the spectre of death haunted his final years.

        On a philosophical note I guess everyone (in the West) needs to recognise that we are lucky and work to minimise our greed and consumption. Our current ills are the direct consequence of a failure to act on that thought.
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @Linux Guru Advocate

        So what are Chrome browser and the Android browser based on?

        According to their license agreements Apple's open source WebKit plays a large part.
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?


        And WebKit is based on KHTML...

        This actually shows why Jobs's claim of Android being a stolen product is arrogant BS. No one's product is a thoroughly original idea. The iPhone borrows a lot of concepts from LG's Chocolate (which came a year before the iPhone), now it copied Android's notification UI, BlackBerry's messenger ideas.
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @bannedagain, LOL, webkit is based om kde's khtml. Apple were forced to release the source code.
    • But One Looming Question....

      @johnfenjackson@... <br>If it was stolen, then why did Apple not go after Goole directly instead of the OEMs?<br>What SJ said and Apple did are two different items.<br>Pick on the little guys.<br>Cowards way out.
      • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

        @rhonin You call HTC and Samsung the "little guys"? Really?
      • ... Has a Very Obvious Answer

        @rhonin : Google did not put a GUI on top of their Android base, giving the OEMs a way to make Android individual to the separate OEMs. It was the OEMs that made Android look so much like iOS. So, Apple went after the OEMs instead.
    • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

      @johnfenjackson@... <br>Did really Steve Jobs said that? I highly doubt it because the author is releasing the Bio after Steve's death, that makes it not fair to the 100% and not true to the 100% because Steve is not there to say yes or no to it. I sincerely think media and publisher+author are trying to cash hugely on Steve Jobs death and thats why we are seeing these floating around now. I know SJ was arrogant, but releasing the book after the death of SJ makes it genuine NOT.
      Ram U
    • RE: Is Android a stolen product?

      @johnfenjackson@... I've dealt with MS since their early days. They were ALWAYS evil. Just at the start, they didn't have quite the monopoly power behind them so they just LOOKED less evil.
    • Pot calling the kettle black....

      @johnfenjackson@... <br><br>And Apple didn't steal the ideas for the GUI and mouse from Xerox in 1973. Right......
      linux for me