Steven Levy’s new book, In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, has some interesting insights regarding the relationship between Steve Jobs and Google throughout the years. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that when Sergey Brin and Larry Page were looking around for a new CEO their first choice was Jobs.
Jobs turned them down, but saw enough in Google to see that it could be a success; he offered to mentor the two founders, going so far as to provide them with access to his closest advisers. After Jobs declined the Google CEO position, Brin and Page chose Eric Schmidt as CEO and Schmidt also later joined Apple’s board of directors. That’s when things quickly took a turn for the worse.
As Levy states in the book, Jobs was “furious” when he visited Google’s Mountain View headquarters and saw that the Android OS sported iOS features like pinch to zoom, among others. Shortly after that visit, Jobs told an Apple town hall meeting what he really thought of Google: “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them […] This don’t be evil mantra? It’s bullshit.”
The book also states that after Jobs found out about Android’s similarities to iOS, he felt betrayed enough to somehow keep the development of the iPad hidden from Eric Schmidt while he was still a board member of Apple.