Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra doesn’t put much stock in what he calls the “copycat melodrama” surrounding the company’s products, which bear more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s hardware.
Barra gave his thoughts on the matter to Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. He says that the criticism is not so much because Xiaomi’s stuff looks like Apple’s stuff but rather because “every smartphone these days kinda looks like every other smartphone.”
You can see the whole clip below.
“You have to have curved corners. You have to have at least a home button in some way,” Barra continued. “I just don’t think that we can allow a company to take ownership of things that just are how they are.”
Basic interaction design is one thing, but several of Xiaomi’s phones, tablets, and hardware look like they came straight out of Cupertino. And who says you have to have rounded corners or a home button? We’ve been hearing rumblings for months that Apple might drop its own home button on future iterations of the iPhone in favor of the Force Touch analog feature currently available on the Apple Watch.
“I’ll be the first to admit that yes, [the Mi 4] does look like the iPhone 5,” Barra said. “And by the way, that chamfered edge is present in so many other devices.”
He’s referring to the thin, sloped border around the iPhone 4 and 5’s screen, which was one of the main resemblances that people calling shenanigans pointed to. And that wasn’t the only deflection Barra employed; his most confusing line blames the backlash on people simply not liking China.
“It was in many ways people projecting their bias against Chinese companies onto us,” he said. “People just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high quality products.”
That seems like a bit of a stretch to us, but then again, we’re not the vice president of a $45 billion company trying to explain why people think our stuff looks unoriginal. He has to say something, apparently.