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View Full Version : Did Google Steal Android from Apple? Why Jobs Was Wrong.

Craig Horlacher
10-26-2011, 09:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Why-Steve-Jobs-Was-Wrong-About-Android-Being-a-Stolen-Product-221142/' target='_blank'>http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and...Product-221142/</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"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."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/adt/auto/1319560965.usr309.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></p><p>Since iOS 4 was released I've seen a number of articles saying that Google stole ideas from Apple for Android.&nbsp; This article points out that all computer systems around these days were preceded by something else.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; I think that's a valid point and is how we get a lot of innovation today.&nbsp; Companies improve products they were not the first to develop.</p><p>Read the article and let me know what you think.&nbsp; Follow the "Read more" link for the rest of my thoughts on this topic.</p><p><MORE /></p><p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_android" target="_blank">Android, Inc.</a> was bought by Google in August of 2005.&nbsp; Apple didn't release the first <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iphone" target="_blank">iPhone</a> until January of 2007.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; Years before either one, Palm had their Palm OS devices and Microsoft had their Windows Mobile/PalmPC/Pocket PC devices.&nbsp; There were other companies like Nokia that had made attempts at making a smartphone or PDA.&nbsp; Some of these had icons on their desktop, some of these had widgets, some worked pretty well with you finger on the screen.&nbsp; They were all available before any iPhone or Android device.&nbsp; None of them made waves like the iPhone did but they were still there, doing many of the same things that current devices do.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; It may look or work differently but it probably wasn't in the iPhone or on Android first.</p><p>There are a number of specific features that, whether or not they were copied from Android, Android had them before iOS.&nbsp; Here is a list of ones I'm aware of:</p><ol><li>Copy &amp; paste</li><li>Folders</li><li>Multitasking</li><li>Voice dictation (not logic or voice control like Siri)</li><li>Widgets</li><li>Notification bar</li><li>Cloud activation and syncing</li><li>Lock Screen functions &ndash; not standard but in Android first</li></ol><p>Sure, some of these features were in other operating systems, even mobile ones, for years.&nbsp; But you don't see Google going after Apple for any of these features.&nbsp; For instance, while Android had excellent voice dictation but it had nothing like Siri.&nbsp; I think Siri is a great example of excellent innovation on Apples part that seems to have been very well executed.&nbsp; 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.</p><p>Apple has done an amazing job of getting technology out there!&nbsp; If it were not for Apple I'm sure there would not be as many mp3 players or smartphones out there.&nbsp; Apple really pushed those markets to where they are today and I'm not sure anyone else could have done the same thing.</p><p>Google has done a lot of mobile innovation as well.&nbsp; If Google hadn't done cloud syncing had a good notification system from the start would iOS 5 have those features?&nbsp; I don't know.&nbsp; I do know that both Apple and Google are late to the computer industry in general.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; Isn't there a lawsuit in there somewhere?</p><p>I think lawsuits are out of hand.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; I don't think an actual tablet is the right device for them.&nbsp; I don't think a company should need to spend more on legal fees than R&amp;D.&nbsp; I don't know that that's the case anywhere but it wouldn't surprise me.</p><p>So now you've heard my feelings on this topic.&nbsp; What do you think?&nbsp; Should Apple be suing Google for features in Android that were allegedly copied from iOS?&nbsp; Should Google be suing Apple for anything?&nbsp; Do a lot of companies just need to cool it with all these lawsuits (since Apple is not the only offender here)?</p>

10-28-2011, 06:16 AM
I agree that the lawsuits are way out of hand. Companies have decided they would rather litigate than innovate. Think how awesome iOS might be right now if they were directing all these legal dollars towards R&D. Patents were never intended to cover the very finite items that we see receiving patents today. We see such obvious things as swiping or touching a screen to interact with it being given patents. Patents are NOT supposed to be granted to obvious ideas, yet that's been completely ignored over the years.

Having ranted about this, Jobs does have a point. Android originally was going to include a keyboard and was targeting RIM. When the iPhone was announced, they changed directions and went with an icon based touch screen system. However, rather than worrying about Android, they would have been better off figuring out how to make it irrelevant buy improving. Instead we saw extremely slow upgrades to the software, and only in it's latest 5th release do we see them actually "catching up".

It's really best for all of us if companies are forced to continue to improve and innovate. Those of us that are former WM users no first hand what happens when the incumbent feels no need to innovate and improve. The laws are supposed to reflect that, but unfortunately they have been greatly twisted by incumbents over the years simply to stifle competition and innovation.

Sven Johannsen
10-28-2011, 04:47 PM
Having ranted about this, Jobs does have a point. Android originally was going to include a keyboard and was targeting RIM. When the iPhone was announced, they changed directions and went with an icon based touch screen system. That may be true, but Apple certainly wasn't the first to have an on screen keyboard. MS PPC had that since 2000 at least. Maybe the Newton was the first, MS tablet PC edition back in '95 had it,but I'm not sure anymore when it first showed up. Shifting towards an iPhone-like concept may have been some recognition about what consumers were looking for, or were convinced they needed that changed the direction, rather than a concerted effort to compete with a particular platform. Sort of like now it appears that bigger screens seem to be 'better', though I believe Steve Jobs noted early one 'nobody wants a big phone.' Think about the car industry. Someone created a van, and before long every manufacturer made something similar. Then there came the SUV craze. You build what you think the consumer will buy.

I agree with the points in the article that 'there is nothing new under the sun'. Everything builds on something. Sometimes hard to distinguish outright theft from parrallel discovery, or evolution. Even major innovations like the advent of files, folders, and directories, while new in a PC OS were commonly available in most offices. We called them papers, file folders and file cabinets back then. Extending that paradigm seemed natural. Typewriters had keyboards long before PCs. Devices had touch screens before mobile phones. The Sumarians would argue that a stylus on a tablet is not new. Of all things tech the mouse seems to be the most radical a departure from anything before, and we all know where that came from. But what was their inspiration. It wasn't the first time movement of one thing (the mouse) controlled the movement of another (the cursor). Think of a stick in an airplane. Heck, think about an etch-a-sketch, where inputs in two directions can place you anywhere on the screen.

Certainly needs to be some system to protect the great ideas of individuals and companies, but the current penchant, and ability, to patent things that have been taken for granted by the majority of users, for a considerable length of time, just seems petty and counterproductive. Imagine if it was extended to other areas. You could imagine the decendents of DaVinci patenting the concept of wings on a flying machine. They certainly have the original art. I suppose the Vatican could challenge it though, on behalf of God, considering birds have been around for a while.

10-28-2011, 05:33 PM
Excellent points Sven. I couldn't agree more with everything you said. I think patents had been approved in the automotive industry the way they are being applied to technology today, we would all still be driving a Model T with no heat, air conditioning, etc. This is the major problem with the current application of patent law...Patent's are supposed to promote innovation, not stifle it, that is the sole reason for their being, but today they typically do more to stifle innovation than promote it.

As far as Jobs is concerned, I guess my point was that I understood why he was ticked off, since Google's CEO was sitting on the Apple board, and Android suddenly changed direction and was directly competing with Apple. However, as I said he should have buried them by out innovating, not by spending millions on law teams to try and prevent competing products from coming to market.

It's funny how Jobs could be so mad at Google regarding this, yet continued to feature Google as the primary search engine and use Google Maps within iOS, we see the same with the Samsung battle, they are beating each other over the head in courts, yet Apple is still sourcing memory, and other hardware from Samsung. I know they have to compartmentalize some of this, but still, if you think a company is so evil, you are pretty hypocritical to keep doing business with them.

Sven Johannsen
10-28-2011, 09:35 PM
And what is really annoying is that when all is said and done, the only winners are the lawyers, and the losers are the consumers. I can live with the latter, but the former really bugs me ;)