Here's an interesting twist that would have been hard to see coming had it shown up in a book or movie. According to a Businessweek interview with Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page, he actually had a good relationship with Steve Jobs, and was even mentored by him in many ways. In fact, Mr. Page believes that Steve Jobs' now famous declaration of "thermonuclear war" and his vow to "spend every last dime of Apple's money destroying Android" was merely for show. He further elaborated that it was likely a way for Steve Jobs to motivate his team by giving them a strong competitor to rally against. Here is the direct quote from the Businessweek article: (The bolded statements and questions were from the interviewer.)
That's a surprising take on things, and an interesting glimpse into the "behind the scenes" of the tech world. What do you guys think? Was Steve Jobs' malice toward Android genuine, an act, or something in-between? And, how do you guys feel about Larry Page's optimistic and forward-thinking view on business?According to the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, when you became CEO you went to Jobs for advice. I know you had your differences at the end around Android, but what did you take from him as a mentor and a friend?
I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally.
He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.
Wait, the fury around Android was for show?
I think that served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.