When Apple announced the original iPhone back in 2007, Google’s first Android handset wasn’t too far behind. The search giant got a compelling iOS alternative out of the gate before anyone else, and it’s been a head-to-head battle between the two platforms ever since. But how was Android able to follow the iPhone so quickly?
Well, that’s fairly obvious to most. You see, Google chairman Eric Schmidt was an Apple board member when the Cupertino company was developing the iPhone, and so he got an inside look at the device before anyone else. Little did Apple know that Schmidt would use what he saw inside Apple’s headquarters to create the iPhone’s biggest competitor.
With the iPad, however, it was a different story. That was years ahead of everything else, and not even Google had a slate ready to do battle when the iPad launched in 2010. Why? Because Steve Jobs made sure Schmidt knew nothing about the iPad before its debut.
When Motorola announced its latest Android-powered smartphones earlier this month, Schmidt publicly admitted that Google was “late to tablets.” He also revealed that only 70,000 of the 1.3 million Android activations each day are for tablets. So why was his company, which was so quick to follow the iPhone just three years earlier, so far behind the iPad?
Because despite the fact that Schmidt was still on Apple’s board during 2008-2009, he didn’t get so much as a peek at the iPad. He didn’t even know it existed, because Steve Jobs made sure he was kept in the dark about its development. We all know how Apple’s co-founder felt about Google’s answer to the iPhone, and he didn’t want a repeat of that for the iPad.
Google wasn’t “late” to the smartphone party, because Schmidt knew exactly how to crash it. But without any knowledge of the iPad before its launch, it took him and Google a whole lot longer to come up with a competitor.
It’s hard to imagine that Google’s chairman could so comfortably steal from personal friends and colleagues, and companies that he and Google have been so close to in the past. But as Gizmodo notes, this helps explain why Google has the worst property infringement record of any major American corporation, and why so many companies are suing it for intellectual property infringement.
It also explains why Apple bought its own mapping companies just to rid its iOS devices of Google Maps.