In an interview with Businessweek, Google CEO Larry Page took some time to discuss the direction of the tech giant now that things have settled after a shakeup that saw him assuming his new role while other, like Eric Schmidt, were moved to new positions within the company. Of the many topics touched on, Android came up more than once. In one of the more revealing moments, Page says he actually had a good relationship with Apple founder Steve Jobs. The brain behind the iPhone was somewhat of a mentor to Page, seeking him out to offer advice after learning of his new role as CEO of Google.
More surprising still is that Page believes much of Jobs’ disdain towards Android was “for show.” He explains that it would be “useful for [Apple] to feel like they have an obvious competitor…to rally around.” So Jobs’ famous utterance to biographer Walter Isaacson stating that he would spend every last penny in Apple’s bank to see Android wiped from the face of the earth was just for show? Or were his words, as Page suggests, simply designed to be a hot fire poker to the rear of Apple’s employees? Or perhaps a bit of chest thumping from the silverback gorilla of the tech world? As strange as it sounds, it makes sense. Jobs was far too smart to really believe that taking out a competitor was so important that it was worth running his company into the ground.
Page’s views are different, and perhaps mirror the true thinking of Jobs. “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.”