The Fight For Smartphone Supremacy: How Apple And Google Put Their Relationship On The Line
Behind the scenes of the technology world, is a vibrant dogfight between Apple and Google.
Both tech giants are vying for dominance in the lucrative smartphone market.
It all began with an early partnership that later devolved into animosity and competition as each began to think strategically about their respective strengths.
On the other side, Google provides an open-source OS called Android and maintains relationships with many phone manufacturers.
As this epic rivalry unfolded, Steve Jobs was deceived by his former pals at Google who used backstabbing and secret tech projects to gain an edge up on Apple.
You’ll get insights into this saga through fascinating stories behind Gorilla Glass, iPhones, and a deep analysis of how many lawyers set out to cripple a phone manufacturer!
The Risky Road To Apple’S Revolutionary Iphone: How The Ipod Led To A Revolutionary Phone
When the iPod was launched in 2001, Steve Jobs was wary of developing a phone at Apple.
He feared that the large phone carriers would meddle with every detail and compromise the quality of the device.
So instead, Jobs shifted his focus to another venture: iTunes and iPods.
Jobs decided to leverage the success of these two products by introducing a music phone in collaboration with Motorola–the Rokr.
Although this seemed like it could be successful, customers were disappointed with its limited storage capacity (100 songs) and inability to download music from the internet directly.
Despite this setback, iPods started flying off store shelves as sales began to soar in 2004, leading Jobs to contemplate making an Apple phone again.
But this time, he wanted full control over it so he could ensure that Apple’s values were reflected in every aspect of its development.
How Apple Pioneered Breakthrough Mobile Technologies To Create The Iphone
When Apple began developing a mobile phone, Steve Jobs had one mission: create a device with innovative features never before seen.
This meant passing standard phone chips and venturing into uncharted territory, such as bringing multi-touch screens to the mainstream.
The ambitious project led to large prototypes that were soon shrunk down to fit inside a regular-sized smartphone.
Additionally, they wanted their phones to withstand the common drops and scratches that plague most smartphones – this led them to Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass, and eventually scratch resistance was a key feature of their manufactured iPhones.
What was an ambitious idea at first soon revolutionized the world of smartphones by introducing features never available before – and as we know today, those features are taken for granted!
From gorilla glass screens that don’t scratch or shatter when dropped, to multi-touch navigation with two fingers becoming commonplace – Apple’s desire to bring innovative ideas to everyday society was fulfilled in the creation of their iPhone.
Apple’S Secretive Practices To Keep The Iphone Release Under Wraps
Steve Jobs was determined to keep the ongoing development of Apple’s iPhone top secret.
To do so, he even went as far as to cordon off parts of the office and preventing employees not a part of the project team from entering certain areas.
He then had all members of the iPhone team sign an NDA as well as another contract affirming they signed it!
Any employee who broke this rule would immediately be fired.
Sharing information between the different groups working on the iPhone–such software group vs.
electronics group–was also heavily restricted.
Therefore, when Marvell Electronics provided the phone’s Wi-Fi chip, they were kept in the dark–not even knowing they created something that would become part of a smartphone.
In order to make sure Marvell had no idea what their chips were being used for, Steve Jobs even showed them fake schematic graphs for a fictional iPod project!
How Steve Jobs’ Playful Instigation Caused A Rivalry Between Two Of His Favorite Engineers
Two of Apple’s most successful executives, Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall, were set to battle it out for control over the iPhone project.
Forstall had been working with Apple since 1992 and his successes had not gone unnoticed.
Despite this, he was still outside of Steve Jobs’ “inner” circle of favored developers – until Fadell was appointed as the head engineer for the iPhone project, who had previously led the team that developed the iPod.
With the iPod generating 40 percent of Apple’s revenue by late 2006, Jobs naturally showed favoritism towards Fadell and Forstall felt brushed aside as a result.
Forstal then suggested they create a compressed version of OS X instead to run on iPhone, providing a scalable down version that weighed in at only hundreds megabytes – a tenth of its original size.
Impressed by the idea, Jobs allowed Forstall to take on the project – but wasn’t sure it could be done due to mobile chips being too underpowered at that point in time.
As one could expect from two powerhouses within such an influential company competing for control over such an important project, rivalry between Forstall and Fadell intensified quickly.
Fueled partly from Job’s suggestion-favoring behavior which included allowing Forstall to poach personnel from Fadells team when things were looking up, this only added further salt to sore wounds and animosity kept rising even after discovering there had been complete secrecy involving their respective teams.
How Google Android Began As A Secret Project To Rival Apple’S Iphone
At the time when technology giants Apple and Google weren’t competitors yet, Apple enlisted the help of Google for their iPhone project.
Google had Google Maps, YouTube and other software that Jobs was keen to use on the innovative device.
Even Eric Schmidt, Google CEO at the time, was part of Apple’s board of directors.
What not many people knew though was that at the same time as partnering with Apple, Google started their own secret project: Android.
The company bought Android Inc in July 2005 and put cofounder Andrew Rubin in charge of developing an operating system that could rival the iPhone.
First they developed a BlackBerry-like device called Sooner but it was released shortly after Apple’s impressive display with their iPhone in 2007 which overshadowed the inferior Sooner easily.
This led to the development team dropping it and moving to create capable Dream device – one that went beyond even what the iPhone offered at the time by providing 3G connection, copy-paste functionality and Street View integration.
Apple’S Crazy Race To Launch The First Iphone Is A Testament To Human Ingenuity And Determination
When Apple’s iPhone was announced in January 2007, it seemed flawless – but the engineers knew better.
There were still a number of issues with the phone that had to be addressed before it could go to market.
For example, if there were too many tasks running at once, the device would run out of memory and crash.
Jobs managed to hide this during his presentation, but there was still a tight deadline for the June 29 launch.
The virtual keyboard still wasn’t working properly, with multiple letters popping up when one key was pressed after an irritating lag time.
In addition, Apple hadn’t found a way to properly embed multi-touch sensors into the gorilla-glass screen and they couldn’t mass produce an effective antenna due to unreliable transmission performance.
Pre-launch problems had iPhone engineers in a cold sweat, but Apple held its nerve and managed to meet its deadline.
On June 29th international media covered what some called a historic event as Apple enthusiasts rushed to get their hands on this revolutionary phone!
And in two days alone 270,000 units were sold with an additional 3.4 million over the following six months!
Jobs’ Mistake: Believing His Google “Friends” Cost Apple The Mobile War
Steve Jobs had been warned by friends about Google’s developing Android mobile operating system project but he didn’t take their warnings seriously.
It wasn’t until Andrew Rubin held a press conference in November 2007 to announce the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) which included many phone producers, software developers, and carriers such as Ebay, T-Mobile, Intel, and Sony that Jobs began to understand what it could mean for Apple’s iOS.
At this point he realised that Google was going to try and compete with Apple directly with their open source Android platform.
And when he saw the video published by Google featuring Sergey Brin and Steve Horowitz playing with phones containing features not available on iPhone such as Street View, Jobs felt betrayed; these were people he considered his friends who had kept the extent of the Android project from him and its competitive stance towards Apple.
Even more so when he discovered Google was developing a multi-touch smartphone that infringed on one of Apple’s patents.
The two met for a long meeting during which Jobs made demands regarding certain features being withheld from the Android phone – temporarily they complied but it quickly became apparent they had no intention of abiding by them long term.
Apple’S Legal Battles With Android: How A Rivalry To Rule The Smartphone Market Began
When Google began to develop Android phones with multi-touch features, Apple knew it had to act fast.
Despite Jobs’ legal threats, Google partnered with Motorola and Verizon to create the Droid smartphone in 2009.
This phone offered enhanced multitasking abilities, unlike the iPhone–and it sold better in its first three months too!
Google released a software update that gave even more multi-touch navigation abilities to the Droid, as well as their new Nexus One phone.
In response, Jobs began filing patent infringement lawsuits against various phone manufacturers using Android operating systems.
He chose to take on not only Google (which didn’t make their own phones anyway) but also the actual phone makers like HTC and Samsung.
By 2012 Apple had over 50 lawsuits filed against Samsung in multiple countries, and they hired 300 lawyers from 50 law firms just for these suits!
Eventually, after years of court fighting Apple won a hefty $1 billion judgement against Samsung in summer of 2012–not only did they want protection of their patented features but also weakening of their biggest competitor in the market.
It was an epic battle that forever changed the smartphone industry.
The Battle Between Apple And Google Raged On Despite Steve Jobs’ Death
Steve Jobs wasn’t shy about publically criticizing Google from 2008 until his death in 2011.
He knew that Google posed a real threat to Apple, so he made sure to keep the company on its toes by releasing new products.
Google responded by launching apps and services like Google Voice in order to try and extend their mobile reach further.
Google Voice allowed people to make free voice calls online, combining phone numbers and email addresses into a single identification number, but it also meant that any user’s full contact database would end up on Google’s servers.
When they offered Google Voice to Apple for inclusion on the iPhone, Steve Jobs refused which caused legal battles.
This didn’t sit well with media outlets or FCC regulations, and Apple was portrayed as a control freak.
Jobs eventually caved in and included Google Voice in the Apple iTunes app store though it had already done damage to their reputation.
Apple then aimed to challenge Google’s dominance in mobile advertising by creating their own platform called iAd.
It was incredibly successful — bringing in $200 million only three years later — but later released an incorrect version of Maps for the iPhone 5 resulting in more criticism for Apple from customers.
Regardless of the shortfalls with these products, it just goes to show that Steve Jobs’ competitive drive never let up even when legal battles between Apple and Google made them look bad.
It’s likely we will be seeing much more of this competition for many years to come!
Dogfight: How Google and Apple went to War, and started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein is an incredibly informative book that takes its readers through the epic battle between Google and Apple – from their beginnings as friendly companies to facing off in court over mobile internet.
Through the course of this book, readers are given a glimpse into the competitive dynamics of these two giants and how it resulted in significant improvements in iPhones and Android-based smartphones for users.
At the end of it all, it’s clear that one thing remains certain: their war led to a revolution in the world of mobile technology.