Frenemies: Inside Love Lost Between Apple, Google

Frenemies: Inside Love Lost Between Apple, Google

Apple CEO Steve Jobs hid development of the iPad from Google chief Eric Schmidt when Schmidt served on Apple’s board of directors, according to a new tell-all book that covers the deteriorating relationship between Google and Apple.

Jobs kept the tablet secret after seeing Android’s pinch-to-zoom feature in summer 2008 and finding it too close for comfort to the iPhone’s capabilities, according to Steven Levy, who authored “In the Plex.”

Schmidt later resigned from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s board because of competition between Android and Apple devices. The split was just one chapter in the disintegrating relationship between Google and Apple.

According to Levy, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in their early days were so impressed with Jobs they wanted him as CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company in 1999. But Schmidt got the job instead.

Schmidt joined Apple’s board and the companies felt they could use their complementary expertise for good. Jobs even felt like a mentor to Google’s two young founders, according to “In the Plex.”

“There was so much overlap that it was almost as if Apple and Google were a single company,” Levy writes.

The relationship remained cordial while Google worked on its search engine and Apple concentrated on computers, but things changed after Apple moved into the world of smartphones and Google followed. When Google tried to join the smartphone club, Jobs, according to Levy, was angry. After all, Apple hadn’t crossed into search engine territory, so Google’s attempt at competition rankled.

Jobs began to think of Google as more of a competitor than friend as Android’s operating system was developed with features similar to iOS, according to Levy. When Jobs visited the Googleplex in 2008 and saw Google was developing pinch-to-zoom technology, he decided to protect the research behind the iPad from leaking into the hands of his new competitor.

Since then, the iPad went on to essentially spark the emerging tablet market, and its successor, the iPad 2, continues to sell out worldwide.

“In the Plex” is available now for $26.

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