Google Exec: We Created Android to Keep Apple from Controlling Mobile

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Vic Gundrota
Google VP
Vic Gundrota

Google created Android OS in order to keep Apple from having too much control over the mobile devices market, according to Vic Gundotra, vice president of Engineering at Google. The LA Times reported in a blog post that Mr. Gundotra made the comments at I/O, Google’s developer conference in San Francisco.

Mr. Gundotra refrained from mentioning Apple CEO Steve Jobs by name, but his keynote included pointed lines such as, “If we did not act, we faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier was the future. That’s a future we don’t want.”

His keynote presentation also criticized iPad for not allowing third party app multitasking, a feature that is set to be added to iPad later this year in iPhone OS 4. iAd’s million dollar price tag for entry was also criticized, and the exec contrasted Google as an experienced advertising partner open to working with thousands of advertisers.

Today’s Apple-bound barbs are the latest in the battle between Apple and Google. What’s interesting, however, is that Android was purchased and then turned into a mobile platform by Google while Google CEO Eric Schmidt was still sitting on Apple’s board.

Mr. Schmidt was careful to recuse himself from portions of board meetings dealing with overlapping areas of competition, but if the raison d’être of Android was to stop Apple from controlling the mobile world, there could be questions about his role on Apple’s board while that development was going on.

As for Apple, CEO Steve Jobs and Mr. Schmidt have reportedly remained close friends, even while Mr. Jobs reportedly said that Google’s mantra of “Do No Evil” was “crap” (depending on the version of the story), along with other critical comments from Cupertino.

Google has entered the market for both PC operating systems (Chrome OS) and mobile operating systems (Android OS), Apple has entered the world of mobile advertising with iAd, and the company has purchased companies that could allow Apple to develop its own mobile mapping services, services it has heretofore allowed Google to provide.

In short, the action is heating up between the two companies, and Mr. Gundrota’s comments are among the most pointed and critical yet to come out of Google’s side.

Comments

Kiwiphred

Pot, meet kettle…

Farhan

Dude you could have included the timeline or at the very least included a link to Matt’s post at http://www.appleoutsider.com/2010/05/20/google-rewrites-history/ where he points out Vic’s dishonesty and Google’s rewriting of history.

MOSiX Man

Farhan,

Matt has his facts straight, indeed. Eric Schmidt didn’t even join Apple’s board of directors until 2006.

Hmmm… I wonder if, based on Google’s open ‘admission’ that they were intent on engaging in direct competition with Apple, all the way back in 2005, Mr. Schmidt might be considered guilty (in a general, if not legal, sense) of some manner of corporate espionage? If nothing else, it seems likely that he’d have to be guilty of some impropriety regarding Apple’s trade secrets, since he was the CEO of a company that intended to directly compete with Apple.

Nemo

As a matter of law, a director owes a duty of loyalty to the corporation or corporations, where he serves as a member of the Board.  It is party of his fiduciary duty to his corporation.  If prior to joining Apple’s Board, Mr Schmidt knew that Google had plans to enter the cell phone/smartphone business, then he would have been obliged to withdraw from Apple’s Board the moment he became aware that Apple was planning a smartphone.  Indeed, Mr. Schmidt might have been obliged to decline the offer to join Apple’s Board, given what he knew about Google and Apple’s respective plans to enter the market for smartphones. 

Moreover, if Mr. Schmidt’s knowledge of Apple’s plans for its smartphones were used in any way to enhance or benefit Google’s plans for its smartphones, that would be patent violation of his fiduciary duty to Apple, Inc. as a director and could be actionable as a breach of Schmidt’s fiduciary duty to Apple, Inc.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Or maybe Vic was spoofing the 1984 Macintosh commercial, complete with dystopian sepia toned image projected on a large screen?

As Daniel Lyons noted in his Newsweek blog today:

The most telling thing to me was Google’s tone toward Apple at the event. Instead of pretending to still be an Apple ally, Google today basically threw down the gantlet and admitted that it’s engaged in total war with Apple.

And unlike other Apple rivals, like Adobe, Google execs weren’t huffing and puffing and wringing their hands about Apple’s bad behavior. No, instead, Google was mocking Apple. Making fun of it. Laughing at it.

nealg

Moreover, if Mr. Schmidt?s knowledge of Apple?s plans for its smartphones were used in any way to enhance or benefit Google?s plans for its smartphones, that would be patent violation of his fiduciary duty to Apple, Inc. as a director and could be actionable as a breach of Schmidt?s fiduciary duty to Apple, Inc.

I wonder when the first shareholder lawsuit will be filed? Discovery process will be interesting.

Neal

Terrin

It is coming.

I wonder when the first shareholder lawsuit will be filed? Discovery process will be interesting.

Neal

Tardis

?Android, the Google software that powers a growing number of mobile phones, was created to keep Apple from having too much control over the market, Gundotra said. ?

This is not true. Google bought Android from the founders of Danger in 2005.  That was before Eric Schmidt joined the board of Apple, before Apple announced the iPhone and before Microsoft bought Danger.

Strange that we trust Google so much for finding out the truth in our search when the truth is so sadly missing from what Google people such as Gundotra and even Eric Schmidt actually say and do.

Lee Dronick

We developed Bing to keep Google from controlling search

Nemo

I doubt that there will be a shareholders’ lawsuit.  Such a suit would be expensive, vigorously fought by Google, and would be difficult to prove.  I doubt that there would be any direct evidence lying around Google or in any of the computing devices of Google’s executives, so such a lawsuit would most likely have to be mounted using circumstantial evidence.  However, since I haven’t analyzed the facts, my judgment here on the likelihood of suit by Apple and/or one or more of its shareholders is only provisional.  And I am certainly not saying that Eric Schmidt did not improperly exploit any information that he acquired as Director at Apple, Inc.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This is not true. Google bought Android from the founders of Danger in 2005.? That was before Eric Schmidt joined the board of Apple, before Apple announced the iPhone and before Microsoft bought Danger.

Guys, he was poking fun at Apple. Watch the video. The line of questioning here is now part of a bigger joke. Shareholder lawsuit based on this, for real?

And don’t even start with “if you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny”. If I have to explain the joke, you’re not funny.

Ethan

Bosco, they can’t get passed Google getting mouthy towards Apple to understand the visual joke.

Thank god we have Android around to offer strong competition and opportunities for those who are not interested in the iDevice lockdown. I think over the next few years Apple will need to do some soul searching over how much control it exerts over it’s users.

Tardis

Bosco,

I have just watched the video. Gundutra is a smooth talker, but what he says CAN NOT BE TRUE. Joke, poking fun at Apple or otherwise.

Gundrota joined Google, after leaving Microsoft, in 2007. I am not saying Gundotra is lying. I am not saying that, if Gundotra is telling the truth, what Andy Rubin told him was lying.

However, without a doubt, the story told between them by Google is a big lie. Why should anyone believe the smarmy swami?

nealg

Guys, he was poking fun at Apple. Watch the video.

Bosco,

I watched the video. He wasn’t joking. He appeared to be seriously quoting Rubin who he met the first day of his job at Google.

I think Android is good competition for Apple and will help the mobile platform evolve. I think it is good for there to be choice out there. But I believe your anti Apple bias is showing if you cannot see the potential for a lawsuit here.

Neal

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

See what I mean Tardis… If I have to explain the joke, you’re not funny. He wasn’t telling a true narrative of actual events. He was using Rubin and his first day at Google as a prop for spinning a cute story. It’s a setup, not a deposition. If you need a smack in the face intro to this kind of humor, I’d recommend Phil Hendrie. Pay attention to the reactions of the callers.

It’s double funny that the LA Times blog posting presents the punchline seriously. Yeah, it’s serious as ebola, of course, but it’s serious in that Google is making fun of Apple. The whole day was “Dear Apple, we know you’re full of crap. Wink. Wink. Love, Google and everyone else.”

Ethan

Bosco, with you being an OS X software developer I find it funny people think your biased against Apple. Maybe they are confusing “biased” with “realist”?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Ethan, One cool thing about these boards and the people who participate is that they’re all just as smart, well probably smarter, than any of the well known pundits. So when I started to get the “what have you ever done with your life” quips when criticizing Apple’s 3.3.1 policy a couple weeks ago, I knew it wouldn’t be long until that line of thought erupted from Jon Gruber or even Steve Jobs. To the rest of the world, yesterday was Draw Muhammed Cartoon Day. But to the Apple blogosphere, the whole week is Leave Brittney Alone Week.

In this thread, we’re getting a peak at what the community reaction will be to Google and others laughing at Apple. I’m guessing it will be akin to the irate Phil Hendrie caller. Or maybe Steve Jobs will drop a “we don’t see anything funny about kids getting porn” bomb. The real punch line is writing itself right now. And the butt of the joke is about to deliver it.

Ethan

New Apple ad campaign to replace “get a mac”: “Think of the children!!!”

Now I’m wondering if Final Cut Pro has ever been used to edit a porno flic. Maybe Apple should add a new EULA section blocking that?

nealg

Maybe they are confusing ?biased? with ?realist??

Ethan,

I believe you are confusing the fact that one person’s bias may not be the bias or reality for others. In todays world, there isn’t one size fits all. That is the reason why choice is good and why Android’s competition with iPhone OS is a good thing.

I understand why Bosco is anti Apple. I read his comments as the worst case scenario for interpreting events in the news with regards to Apple. As an investor in Apple, I think it is important to look at things from all sides. While I don’t often agree with Bosco, I appreciate his comments and point of view.

Now if you view the referenced video the way Bosco has set it up, I can see why he feels this is all a joke. I happen not to agree with the premiss that this a cutesy mock up story to poke fun at Apple but then we can agree to disagree on this.

I have to wonder, though, if Steve Jobs had done the same thing, how would you have interpreted it? My guess is you would have jumped all over him and raked him over the coals but that is just my opinion.

Good luck to you.

Neal

Ethan

Thinking that - proving and suing for a possible conflict of interest (and showing the recusing did not prevent that) based on a statement made by a 3rd person on stage as part of a setup to a visual gag would be difficult at best - is a realistic view.

Anyone who thinks Apple/stockholders have a winnable case here is allowing their bias towards Apple to trump their ability to look at the issue realistically.

Not that the lawsuit won’t be brought but it will fail based on lack of real evidence.

nealg

Not that the lawsuit won?t be brought but it will fail based on lack of real evidence.

If a suit is filed, and I think there will be one, it will be interesting to see if there is any real evidence. How can you say at this point in time that there is no evidence? Do you work at Google and know their side? Are you friends with Schmidt and know his side of the story? Saying that there are no facts at this point in time shows an extreme bias in interpreting the known facts, and there is very little known at this point in time.

Calling the presentation a visual joke doesn’t make it so. And if you happen not to interpret it in the manner you have chosen to do so, you would be able to see why Apple shareholders could bring a suit here.

As always, this is just my opinion. And, as always, time will tell. I know I will not change your mind so we will have to agree to disagree on this.

Good luck to you.

Neal

BurmaYank

Ethan - your English language usage/the way you express your thoughts reminds me so much of Bosco’s that i’m wondering if you are really another nomdeplume of Brad Hutchings.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Not quite. I just send him $1 every time he agrees with me.

(Note the use of Ethan as a “prop” in an untrue sentence written to belittle BurmaYank. That’s kinda like what Vic did.)

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