Did Google Steal Android from Apple? Why Jobs Was Wrong.
"But the fact is that Apple could never have existed if not for the ideas and creations of other companies. And there's nothing wrong with that."
Since iOS 4 was released I've seen a number of articles saying that Google stole ideas from Apple for Android. This article points out that all computer systems around these days were preceded by something else. The main point is you can't say that Android stole ideas from iOS and iOS didn't get ideas from anywhere outside of Apple. I think that's a valid point and is how we get a lot of innovation today. Companies improve products they were not the first to develop.
Read the article and let me know what you think. Follow the "Read more" link for the rest of my thoughts on this topic.
Android, Inc. was bought by Google in August of 2005. Apple didn't release the first iPhone until January of 2007. Though Android didn't have a released phone or OS at this point they were clearly hard at work on something without an iPhone in site. Years before either one, Palm had their Palm OS devices and Microsoft had their Windows Mobile/PalmPC/Pocket PC devices. There were other companies like Nokia that had made attempts at making a smartphone or PDA. Some of these had icons on their desktop, some of these had widgets, some worked pretty well with you finger on the screen. They were all available before any iPhone or Android device. None of them made waves like the iPhone did but they were still there, doing many of the same things that current devices do. I'm sure if you dig around a little you can find nearly every feature of the iPhone or an Android phone on older devices. It may look or work differently but it probably wasn't in the iPhone or on Android first.
There are a number of specific features that, whether or not they were copied from Android, Android had them before iOS. Here is a list of ones I'm aware of:
- Copy & paste
- Voice dictation (not logic or voice control like Siri)
- Notification bar
- Cloud activation and syncing
- Lock Screen functions – not standard but in Android first
Sure, some of these features were in other operating systems, even mobile ones, for years. But you don't see Google going after Apple for any of these features. For instance, while Android had excellent voice dictation but it had nothing like Siri. I think Siri is a great example of excellent innovation on Apples part that seems to have been very well executed. I would never think Google should have the right to sue Apple for that or for the fact that they added dictation that is implemented in nearly the same way as the dictation on Android - with a button on the keyboard and supported by the cloud.
Apple has done an amazing job of getting technology out there! If it were not for Apple I'm sure there would not be as many mp3 players or smartphones out there. Apple really pushed those markets to where they are today and I'm not sure anyone else could have done the same thing.
Google has done a lot of mobile innovation as well. If Google hadn't done cloud syncing had a good notification system from the start would iOS 5 have those features? I don't know. I do know that both Apple and Google are late to the computer industry in general. In some ways, both Android and iOS are just rethinking how to do what we've been doing for years on the desktop with Windows, OS X, Mac OS, OS/2, etc. Isn't there a lawsuit in there somewhere?
I think lawsuits are out of hand. I mean, if someone buys a Galaxy Tab thinking they were getting an iPad they may as well save some money and get an Etch-a-Sketch. I don't think an actual tablet is the right device for them. I don't think a company should need to spend more on legal fees than R&D. I don't know that that's the case anywhere but it wouldn't surprise me.
So now you've heard my feelings on this topic. What do you think? Should Apple be suing Google for features in Android that were allegedly copied from iOS? Should Google be suing Apple for anything? Do a lot of companies just need to cool it with all these lawsuits (since Apple is not the only offender here)?