How is Android a "stolen product"?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Dolorian, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Dolorian macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product." - Steve Jobs

    This was said back in 2010 I think. I am by no means an expert on the subject and do not yet own an Android device, but having recently read a nice article called Android: A visual history over at The Verge, something that struck me is that Android started with a different approach than Apple for it's touch screen OS and many of the features that later emerged in Android were not taken from Apple but were first made and implemented by Android developers (very much like Apple borrows stuff from apps that are not allowed in the app store).

    I know that one of the things that made Jobs lose it and decide to go thermonuclear on Android was the implementation of multi-touch but does that means that Android is a stolen product? As far as I could see from the Verge article, Android (meaning vanilla version) has always kept a different look and functionality than the iPhone and most of the features found in the latest version are improvements of what they had before or an implementation of what Android developers were doing.

    I don't know, I think much is made over Eric Schmidt being on the board of directors but as far as I know he willingly removed himself from any iPhone related meetings (note that Google bought Android in 2005 and was planning to get into the smartphone business by then). Yet people (and I guess Jobs as well) act as if Schmidt was in all the meetings quietly listening and secretly taking notes in order to steal Apple's ideas.

    I get that Apple popularized the whole touchscreen form factor, definitely deserve their credit. But does the mere fact that other companies (Google and their OEMs) saw an opportunity with this type of product makes Android a stolen product, as Jobs said?
  2. G51989, Sep 4, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012

    G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    It isn't a stolen product, the only thing the stock android OS and iOS have in common is that they use touch screens ( if your not on a android handset which buttons ). Steve Jobs just said that, and the fanbois follow.

    The way iOS and Android work is completely different, at least Android in stock form ( not so much the Samsung Touchwiz I'll admit ). iOS is built to be a non customizable walled garden, and its only supposed to run on a couple hardware platforms, Apples that is. Theres very little freedom to change iOS.

    Where as Android is a free, open source OS thats designed to be totally open OS, that will run on pretty much anything. Stock Android vs iOS, they don't even look or function like each other. Other than touchable Icons, I can't think of anything that looks, or works the same.

    And your right, Eric removed himself from any meeting including the iPhone, and he eventually stepped down because of a possible conflict of Interest, the idea that he ' stole ' iOS is completely insane.

    Now apple as a whole I think will eventually go After google, because Android is gaining marketshare pretty rapidly, and it could eventually eat into Apples mobile sales. Its hard for apple to do so, as Google literally gives Android away for free, they do make money off Android, but they also give the OS for free. And IMO, Ice Cream Sandwhich and JellyBean are leaps ahead of iOS.
  3. Oohara macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2012
    I don't think that Android is a "stolen product" at all, and I bet Jobs didn't really think so either. He was just good at creating drama to strengthen corp identity and motivate his minions.
  4. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I think Jobs felt that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, took advantage of his position on Apple's board. Indeed, Schmidt resigned from Apple's board due to the inherent conflict of interest. I do not know much about the history of this, but it sounds to me like Jobs felt that Schmidt took advantage of his position at Apple to funnel ideas to Google. In that sense, although the details of the iOS weren't copied, the general framework was (at least from Job's perspective).

    Perhaps somebody else knows the history better?

    EDIT: an op-ed from Forbes on this point.
  5. dukeblue91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    Well one of the big things was the timing on Googles OS announcement right after Apple did the iPhone.
    Before that point when Erick stepped down every prototype of Google handsets looked like a Black Berry phone and just before he stepped down the where showing phones in the same way the iPhone worked.

    It doesn't need a scientist to come to the conclusion to where the switch came from and it is not a thing you can change over night either.
    Erick Schmitt did sit in on the board meetings at the most crucial times before recusing himself from the meetings.

    I think that Steve Jobs felt that he got his ideas and changed the course of Android due to being in the meetings and on Apples board or Google would have come out with a OS designed for the BB.

    Also don't forget that the BB phone at that time was the safest smartphone to copy due it being the most popular at the time, and Apple's idea was quite a left turn from that.
    Most companies including Rim, Nokia, Palm and MS where laughing and ridiculing Apple on the idea of the iPhone and claimed it would never make it and was way to expensive.

    So yes I can see where Steve was coming from.
  6. Dolorian thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    I may be wrong but weren't there two different models being tested at the time? The BB like model you mentioned and another touch screen model?
  7. kdarling, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    • 2005 - Google buys Android; Jobs gets serious about doing a phone.
    • 2006 Jan - Apple begins iOS
    • 2006 Sep - Schmidt begins attending board meetings; isolates himself from Android
    • 2006 Nov - Jobs tells his staff they still don't have a working product
    • 2007 Dec - iPhone finally works; shown to Cingular CEO
    • 2007 Jan - iPhone shown to world.
    You see, Jobs only invited Schmidt onto the board just a few months before everyone on the planet saw the iPhone. Hardly a huge advantage for Google even if Schmidt had known and been willing to leak anything, and we're not even sure the Apple Board knew the phone's details until it actually worked.

    • 2008 Jan - Jobs dismisses Android as a threat. “Having created a phone, it’s a lot harder than it looks. We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.”
    • 2009 mid - Schmidt leaves Apple board since now they're clearly competing. Apple issues statement of praise for his help. They should: the first iPhone would've been much less impressive without Google Search, Maps, YouTube and location services.
    • 2010 Jan - Android turns on multi-touch. NOW Jobs starts accusing Android of copying iOS, partly because of his mistaken belief that Apple owns multi-touch.
    In other words, it was THREE YEARS AFTER the iPhone was shown off, that Jobs got mad.

    Correct. Google couldn't have changed their entire OS with just a few month's possible notice (which is all that Schmidt could've given).

    Android already had both touch and non-touch support. At most, they would've decided to drop the non-touch (but they didn't... Android still supports keyboards and pointing devices).

    History shows that Jobs felt that Android copied some iOS features later on. They didn't have to be on a board to do that. Anyone could do that after Jan 2007. Heck, there were Javascript emulators within weeks after it was shown off, and months before it went on sale.

    Btw, Android wasn't trying to be a BB. They used a Windows Mobile phone for development. Android wanted to be like WinMo, with its touch and non-touch versions.
  8. Oletros macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2009
    Premià de Mar
    First, the non touch prototypes were not copying BB, they were just HTC smartphones with the same case than WM phones.

    Second, if you find a picture of a prototype before the iPhone was presented I will be very schocked. The pictures of the prorotype are from November 2.007 and there are the two types, non touch and touch only
  9. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    not like apple invented the touch screen

    samsung and others were probably shopping them to lots of companies in the middle of the last decade. not just apple
  10. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    To illustrate your point

    Iphone in 2006, which is very much the iPhone we know today.


    Here is Android in 2006 from Google's own court docs in Oracle trial...Touch screen wasnt even part of the equation.

  11. Oletros macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2009
    Premià de Mar

    Here is ONE of the prototypes of the smartphones.

    People can't understand that Android is software and not hardware and that has been platform and form gnostic since the beginning?

    You are not showing Android, you're showing a prototype running Android
  12. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
  13. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I am wondering how this 'isolation' was achieved. Also, even broad concepts are enough, for they demonstrate feasibility. Just ask Xerox.... Also, are you sure multi-touch wasn't the last straw rather than the only straw?
  14. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2011
    Metro Vancouver, B.C, Canada
    It's a PR move by Jobs to claim Android is a stolen product. He can't stand the fact that a lot of people such as myself chose a non-Apple product because we actually think it is better than any of the Apple products. Jobs' best quality is as a salesman. He's trying to sell the fact that Android is a stolen product that he will try to destroy just to blind people from the fact that Android can actually be a better product than an Apple product.
  15. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Again, Apple invited Eric in full knowledge of Android. Google had acquired Android with the desire to go mobile in 2005. And second, as kdarling pointed out, 6 months of "exclusive" access by Schmidt doesn't amount to much, if Google had ripped off any concepts from the iPhone, they could have just done so post-announcement in Jan 2007.

    No seriously, with Apple keeping Eric on board close to a full year after Android had first shipped on consumer handsets (back in November 2008), and Eric resigning to praises by Steve himself, there is no reason to believe foul play on the part of Eric Schmidt.
  16. Calidude macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2010
    Call me a radical thinker, but a stolen product in the competitive market sense can only be something along the lines of selling a reprinting of somebody's book in order to profit from their work.

    Steve Jobs is basically saying that they invented a car so nobody should be able to make a car either until their patents run dry, and by then, the iPhone won't even look the same as it does now. 20 years is a lifetime in tech.
  17. Forkjulle macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2012
    Steve Jobs was wrong.

    Intellectual property can not be stolen because the originator still has the idea. Something can only be stolen if the owner no longer has it. Intellectual property can only be duplicated or simultaneously conceived elsewhere.

    Let me explain.

    Copying movies is not stealing since duplicates are being made. If I delete the file, then the production house does not suddenly receive money from me. My copying, watching, and deleting the movie has had zero effect on the production house. If you think that it's money they "could have made", then you'd have to prove that I would have paid to see it.

    The debate around whether or not copying intellectual property is wrong, is one of morality and one that will rage on forever.

    One thing's for sure; copying intellectual property has led to some great results and great competition and cheaper prices.
  18. Calidude macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2010
    Depends on how you are copying and how you are distributing it.

    If you copy a book down word for word in a reprint and sell it, I'd consider that pretty disgusting, but people out there who read know better than to pay somebody else for an original author's work.
  19. Dolorian thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    In part I think that Jobs ended up seeing the fact that Google decided to enter the phone business as a betrayal. I don't know what lead him to see things that way really, specially considering that Google had purchased Android back in 2005 and had the intention of entering the phone business by then, and going by the timeline posted by kdarling, it seems that Jobs was not bothered by Android for the first couple of years.

    Google deciding to implement multi-touch seems to be the biggie and what lead Jobs to have a more negative view of Android and the whole "they decided to compete with us, we didn't enter the search business" thing. It would seem that before that things went along well with Jobs wanted to wait and see how Android did and even expressing disappointment for Google wasting their time with it.

    But multi-touch is not "owned" by Apple and has prior art, so Android can't be deemed a "stolen product" for deciding to implement it. Did Apple popularize the whole touch screen thing along with multi-touch and Google implemented it in Android afterwards? Granted, but that doesn't makes Android a stolen product anymore than the pull down notification center on iOS makes it a stolen product.
  20. DeathChill macrumors 68000

    Jul 15, 2005
    Just curious where you're getting these dates? Scott Forstall said that the development of the iPhone (specifically the iPhone, not just iOS) began in 2004 after they began developing tablet prototypes in 2003.

    Also, any source for the Jobs thinking Apple owned multi-touch? That'd be strange.
  21. Mac.World macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2011
    In front of uranus
    Development began on the iPad in 1994 when Ridler had meetings with Apple about his tablet concept. :p
  22. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    This is too much of a Soap Opera too even follow anymore.
  23. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I kind of wonder how their initial direction looked, and did they start hardware design or iOS first?

    I don't agree with you at all. This isn't even clever. You're suggesting a physical keyboard means they copied RIM, and a touch screen means they stole from Apple. Do you see the problem here? You're trying to assign ownership to design trends.

    These conspiracy theories get a bit ridiculous. You are making stuff up simply because it sounds right to you. You already indicated that your conclusion required very little thought process. Anyway they were laughing (specifically in public) at the price and initial features. The phone was shiny and new, yet it lacked a lot of functionality in its first generation, and they limited it to a single carrier with a higher overall cost of entry. You may recall this, but they dropped the price $100 within a couple months of release.

    You brought up a hardware prototype. Apple probably had many prior to the first iphone. I'd like to know if you're suggesting the software development at the time didn't even allow for the possibility of a touch screen later. If your issue is with the lack of a model sold in volume with a physical keyboard, I'd put that down to trends. No individual company owns the concept of touchscreen. If they did, it would likely be invalidated or bundled into a standard due to its far reaching nature.
  24. digital.l0gic macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2012
    ^^ This.

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