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

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.