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Steve Jobs Lashes Out At Android 864

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the battle-of-the-billions dept.
Ponca City writes "Steve Jobs doesn't usually make a guest appearance on Apple's post-earnings conference calls with analysts, but this time he made an exception, attacking Google for marketing its operating system as 'open' versus Apple's 'closed' iOS. 'Google loves to characterize Android as "open" and iOS and iPhone as "closed." We find this a bit disingenuous, and clouding the real difference between our two approaches,' said Jobs. 'Android is very fragmented. Many Android [manufacturers], including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user's left to figure it out. Compare this to iPhone, where every handset works the same.' Jobs stated that the real debate is between 'fragmented versus integrated' and which is better for the consumer. 'When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than a hundred variants.' Jobs also criticized the Android Marketplace, pointing out that there are at least three other app stores being launched by vendors, causing confusion for users and work for developers. 'This is gonna be a mess for both users and developers,' Jobs said. 'Contrast this with Apple's integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.'"
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Steve Jobs Lashes Out At Android

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  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:17PM (#33950754) Homepage Journal

    I hear it's so much better when someone else adjusts all the straps for you.

    • by rtkluttz (244325) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:53PM (#33951618) Homepage

      Both sides (as well as Windows and MacOS desktops) need to learn that it is not acceptable to lock me out of my own device.... under any circumstance.
      It is not acceptable to encrypt any communication in a way that *** I *** as the owner of the device am refused from seeing what is sent. In other words, my device shall not be used to keep me out of the loop. Trust is between me and my device and me and any company I choose to deal with. Not between the company and my device.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @05:04PM (#33953038)
      Yes, but it's a very pretty straightjacket. It's the kind of straightjacket you can wear into a coffeehouse and let everyone know "I'm no poseur." It's not very warm, but you'll be smug as a bug in the warm self-satisfaction that comes with knowing you're better than everyone else.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:17PM (#33950766) Journal
    With a single tweet [twitter.com]:

    the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

    The best part is Andy Rubin started as an engineer at Apple in 1989.

    • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:34PM (#33951160)

      Hate to get all Stallman on you, but any definition of open that doesn't include "make install" is rather weak.

    • by mrjatsun (543322) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:34PM (#33951162)

      The tweet is FUD... He missed the most important part.. How do you install this on a Droid or most other
      Android devices? You need to root it just like you do to jailbreak a iPhone.

      Android devices are far from open.. Don't believe the hype... My hope is for
      a Ubuntu tablet.. Maybe that will actually be open...

      • by doti (966971) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:45PM (#33951424) Homepage

        MeeGo [wikipedia.org], man.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spinkham (56603)

        Ah, you've misread who it's "open" for..

        BSD/Apache style licenses intend to provide "openness" for developers and hardware makers.

        GPL(especially v3) intends to provide openness for the end user.

        Both are valid, but different. Android is mostly Apache 2.0 licensed, and that decision and thinking show through the Android ecosystem.

      • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:53PM (#33951608)

        But the openness doesn't come from the handset itself. Unless you buy direct from a manufacturer, the handsets will be locked down to the specifications of whichever service provider you bought it from.

        Androids openness comes from the distribution of the platform. Once you do root you have an incredible amount of options and level of freedom on an Android device. Much more AFAIK than on any iOS device.

      • by unix1 (1667411) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @06:41PM (#33954370)

        The tweet is FUD... He missed the most important part.. How do you install this on a Droid or most other
        Android devices?

        If you are compiling your own operating systems, maybe you should get a developer phone? You can install anything you want on those.

        You need to root it just like you do to jailbreak a iPhone.

        That's FUD. If your phone is locked down by your carrier or manufacturer, yes you'd need to root it. However, that's where similarities stop - i.e. try compiling your own version of iOS - that's right, you can't, it's NOT open source. That's the difference.

        Android devices are far from open.

        Most are locked down. Dev phones are not. Most that are locked down are easily rooted.

        The big difference, again, is the operating system, not a device. Anyone - i.e. any startup tech company - can take Android source code and start making and selling their own cool devices based on it. That's the advantage of it being open source.

    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:35PM (#33951174)

      That would be meaningful if I could put that into a usable device without voiding all of my carrier user agreements.

      "Somewhere out there is a magical open android!"
      "If it's not on my phone I don't care."

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:35PM (#33952498) Homepage
      Great that you can alter Android's kernel. Too bad you can't just install it on whatever Android phone you want to.
  • Tweetdeck's reply? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:19PM (#33950788)

    Didn't Dodsworth from Tweetdeck say that he had only two guys on the Android port, and fragmentation wasn't really an issue?

    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:32PM (#33951088)

      Yes

      http://twitter.com/iaindodsworth/status/27813709366

    • by Superken7 (893292) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:54PM (#33951628) Journal

      Yes, and Steve Jobs mentioned that as the only example of how fragmentation is an issue for development.
      Very funny because the report he referred to was actually a praise to Android.

      Big fail there. I would like to know if he said that due to ignorance or if he was just that bad at lying.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's merely lying to save face with the moronic investors during a "not-as-good-as-we-thought" quarter. Let's fix those awful quotes and inject some truthiness into them:

        "When selling to users who want their devices not to suck, we believe a walled garden will be less confusing than and open one, every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform in our choice of development environment, rather than choose their own. And not piss us off with any of t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        He probably meant in in the same way at his last press conference he said the iPod Touch was the largest mobile gaming platform on the planet having sold double the number of mobile gaming devices as Sony and Nintendo put together. Except, there's about 300 million Nintendo DS' and PSPs out there, but only 30 million iPod touches.

        Then there was the one about 275,000 iPhone activations per day on average, which would equate to 100 million a year, except even their best iPhone quarter so far they've only shif

  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:19PM (#33950798)

    Jailbreak your iPhone and install what you want.
    Re-Rom your Android and install what you want.

    What's the difference?

    • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:23PM (#33950866)
      The difference is that with most Android installations (and indeed, all to my knowledge, but there may be some I haven't heard of), you can install what you want right off the bat. If you don't like the content available on the Android Market, you can check the box to allow you to install non-Market apps. There is absolutely no reason Apple couldn't do this, while still preserve their "user experience".
  • Just work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:22PM (#33950846) Journal

    iStuff just works until you want to do something Steve hasn't pre-approved. At which point it just doesn't work.

  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:23PM (#33950856)

    "When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time. And we also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than a hundred variants."

    Integrated vs fragmented. He's just trying to redefine the terms in his favor.

    Open > Closed

    vs

    Integrated > Fragmented

    Well done Steve.

    • by Tharsman (1364603) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:00PM (#33951788)

      Integrated vs fragmented. He's just trying to redefine the terms in his favor.

      Open > Closed

      vs

      Integrated > Fragmented

      Well done Steve.

      It all depends on who is buying, as he said: "When selling to users who want their devices to just work"

      If you are a grandma that just got such a device, you will be on the "users who want their devices just to work" category. If you read slashdot, you are likely not in that category and instead in the "i want to tweak this thing to no end" category, in that case, obviously iOS devices are not for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tophermeyer (1573841)

      Yeah, but to be fair one of his points was that the current terms were created by what he views as the open source community. The terms were already defined to put his product in a bad light. Of course he is trying to redefine terms in the debate, the current terms are unfair.

      His main point, about Android not in fact being an open community, was really spot on. Android might be "open" as in FOSS, but most of the community is definitely not able to take advantage of Android's openness.

  • by rotide (1015173) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:24PM (#33950880)
    Honestly, most of the "problems" with Android I actually consider to be strengths. Now the "fragmented" argument, yes, I can see where that can hurt in the long run, but then again, PC's are quite fragmented yet which has a larger hold after all these years, Apple or PC?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Android only has one problem - Google doesn't make a phone.

      If Google actually made and sold a reasonably competitive phone then they could point to it and say "hey, here's the hardware that runs the software. You can do whatever you want with it." That's open.

      What they really have is some software that is technically open, but there's no hardware to run it on. Which makes Android phones about as open as a router that runs Linux and distributes the code but doesn't give you any way to install your changes

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Americano (920576)

      The thing you're overlooking is that there is one operating system that binds together all of those 'fragmented' hardware components from multiple manufacturers: Windows, with a consistent user interface.

      What we're seeing in the Android space is much more akin to the Linux desktop model: it's all "linux" but it looks and feels different from device to device, because manufacturers insist on rolling their own interfaces (KDE, Gnome, et. al.), and multiple interfaces in the mind of a consumer = "totally dif

    • Fragmentation... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

      Honestly, most of the "problems" with Android I actually consider to be strengths. Now the "fragmented" argument, yes, I can see where that can hurt in the long run, but then again, PC's are quite fragmented yet which has a larger hold after all these years, Apple or PC?

      PC fragmentation is in hardware, Android fragmentation is in Software, the OS it self. The dominant PC OS is Windows which, what ever else you can say about Microsoft, does an amazing job at providing a consistent (and IMHO crappy, but still consistent) software user experience across an amazing and bewildering array of often depressingly low quality PC hardware. Stability sometimes suffers mostly due to crappy hardware but the consistency of the user experience is the same. MS has also done a fairly decent

  • by cpuh0g (839926) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:25PM (#33950906)
    Wow, what an overheated headline. Jobs did not "lash out". He gave very reasoned response and delineated the significant differences in the philosophy and design of the 2 platforms. It wasnt an angry rant by any means.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by argmanah (616458) *

      Wow, what an overheated headline. Jobs did not "lash out". He gave very reasoned response and delineated the significant differences in the philosophy and design of the 2 platforms. It wasnt an angry rant by any means.

      You must own an iPhone :).

      But seriously, the idea that "integrated" gives the app developer the ability to be more innovative is simply not true when the reality is Apple is the gatekeeper and any app they don't like they just remove from their "integrated" marketplace. His response was not reasoned, it was a marketing ploy. A "reasoned response" would be "We at Apple feel like the users get a better experience when we have full control over what you can and can't do with a device. Since most people a

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:07PM (#33951934)

        A "reasoned response" would be "We at Apple feel like the users get a better experience when we have full control over what you can and can't do with a device. Since most people are idiots, the average user is happier when we make decisions for them. True freedom results in a worse experience, so we don't believe in freedom." At least that would be intellectually honest.

        Thats a reasoned response, but certainly not an intellectually honest one.

        Apple is playing gatekeeper because Apple is protecting its other interests. You paid half a grand for that iPhone, but thats not enough. They also want to nickel and dime you on the content you consume. Sure, there are some free apps, and some free music, and some free videos.. but you are still in their store getting it.

    • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:03PM (#33951852)

      Sometime in the late 80s I was watching the news and they kept using the term "fiery car crash" versus "traffic accident" in one news story. It literally went like this:

      "This just in, a fiery car crash on I-95 has stopped traffic in both directions for miles. The cause of the fiery car crash is as yet unknown. Tom is live at the scene. Tom, what can you tell us about the fiery car crash?"

      So it's fine that they're letting us know that it's "fiery" and all, but that was my first taste of true news sensationalism taking to an idiotic degree. It's continued ever since. And don't lash out at me to tell me it's always been like this. Even if you're just explaining your experience. ;-)

  • by eepok (545733) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:26PM (#33950924) Homepage

    Tired all of those choices that TWO things can offer? Confused by those floaty things that enter your vision and then move away when you try to focus on them? Scared by things that don't outright hug you?

    Then you should buy Apple!

    Apple... for when thinking takes too much thought.

  • by ErikZ (55491) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:26PM (#33950928)

    Isn't this the same "Cathedral vs. the Bazaar" argument?

  • Dear Steve, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acoustix (123925) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:28PM (#33950976) Homepage

    I want a phone that will let me install whatever app I choose to install regardless of who made it or what store sold it. For me, Android and BlackBerry work best. For the not-so-techy or those who don't care if they're in a walled garden, an iOS device will suit them just fine.

    Regards,
    Me

  • fragmented? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:29PM (#33951014)

    Yeah, right. iOS is about as fragmented as Android is. And the people I've talked to with iPhones older than version 4 are having real troubled with the latest version of iOS on their iPhone 3* phones - majorly slow is what I've heard.

    While there is _some_ truth to Android not being as open as Google would lay claim to, it's certainly more open than iOS is, and when it comes t getting an app out, Android is the platform benchmark for letting anyone release an app. Apple's a joke in this area. I don't know how app distribution works on Blackberry/Windows Phone platforms, though.

    You can not only release your own app on your own website, you can actually open your own Android app MARKETPLACE. Sorry, but that's a level of openness Apple can't and won't compete with.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:30PM (#33951050) Homepage

    has arguably the most arbitrary and capricious process for vetting the applications produced for its platform of any platform provider around?

    Seriously, my God man, it takes balls so big you need to be checked for testicular cancer to have Apple's track record in dealing with iPhone developers to get on Google's case here.

    Sure, maybe the Android platform will end up truly and badly fragmented, but it is not there yet. Furthermore, at least there is always the option of people creating their custom images and processes for helping end users get around vendor crap.

  • by jordan314 (1052648) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:32PM (#33951096)
    I'm surprised fragmentation is his choice of argument against Android. There are several things iOS does better than Android, but it's getting harder and harder to develop for iOS because of fragmentation. Hell, it used to be called iPhone OS, not iOS, but now you have to make sure your code works on previous generation iPhones, the 4's retina display, the iPad, and the iPod Touch. Resolution differences, support for multitasking, and camera differences are all getting more difficult to manage!
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:33PM (#33951106)

    'Changing the subject'.

    "Folks have been saying your platform seems a bit proprietary and closed."
    "Hey, how about them White Sox?"
    "Your platform might be proprietary and closed."
    "Yeah, well so is your mother!"
    "Your platform is proprietary and closed."
    "Oh yeah? Well, you just must not like having a good experience with your phone."

    The problem is that all the more reasonable responses might paint them into a corner where they have to offer an option for a sandbox for a more open use of their platform - and their strategy precludes that as an option. So, like with elections where offering a valid option to voters is too risky (to your various monied interests), insulting the other option becomes the rule of the day.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      There's a better term for it; the non sequitur. The last haven for politicians and snake oil salesmen. When honed to perfection, the listener never even realizes he's no longer listening to an answer.

      "I believe we should remove all references to Christianity from our government."
      "Well, you must hate Jesus!"

      "I disagree with this war."
      "You're either a coward or a traitor!"

  • by Taulin (569009) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:52PM (#33951596) Homepage Journal
    Wow, sounds similar to Nintendo's stance when Sony came out with the Playstation. Nintendo has a very tough hoop to jump through to get a game on their systems, while Sony has a pretty cheap license. Nintendo was first, and had a tight grip on the market until Sony's loose market PS came into town and dominated. The iPhone is like Nintendo in this sense; first of the new breed, and widely accepted. However, Android is quickly becoming a real threat to the market dominance that iPhone has.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by indiechild (541156)

      That's a curious example, seeing as how Nintendo's Wii has stomped all over the competition. Nintendo has some interesting parallels to Apple.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @03:59PM (#33951742)

    He's scared of Android.

    He's scared of open platforms.

    His choice of words "fragmented" and "Integrated" are cleverly chosen word associations that he hopes sway you.

    Funny that he took the complete opposite stance on Flash. He claimed it was "Closed" and dead... and would not be allowed on the iPhone... which here he admits is closed itself... or in his clever wording "Integrated".

    Jobs... You're a businessman.... but your not honest.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:02PM (#33951822) Journal

    I think the real difference is "just work" vs "just work the way I want it to". There is certainly a market for "just work". There are enough people willing to conform their work habits to a device's paradigm to make a device manufacturer a very good living. Apple was successful at this, Microsoft less so, because Apple has an interface that's useful and intuitive and people enjoyed using the device. And Windows Mobile... well, that's a different article.

    Jobs seems to have drawn the wrong conclusion from this -- that the primary success of the iphone is because every device works the same. The obvious argument to this is that I don't use every device, I only use the device I own, and it works the same every day. The real success of the iphone is that it provides a better experience. And it truly does. I'm surprised that Jobs appears to have forgotten this.

    Android also provides a better experience, with the added wrinkle that you can choose the experience you want by choosing a different device and/or customizing the device you have. To people who want to bend a device to their workflow, instead of bending their workflow to a device, this has considerable appeal.

    I think what Apple is missing out on is the customizable aspect of personal devices. And before you say it, this is not a nerd only thing. My 16 year old daughter reports that android is becoming more popular with her circle of friends partly because they *are* different (or can be made different) instead of everything having the exact same device with the exact same interface running the exact same apps. (Daughter turned down the iPhone for a Galaxy S and hasn't touched her iPod Touch since she got it.)

    Jobs can continue to rant about conformity, fanbois and people who genuinely want a device that "just works" will continue to buy his devices, and he'll do really well. For the rest of us, there's Android.

    But.... Listening to Jobs rave about everyone using exactly the same device, I can't help but flash back to that original Mac commercial in 1984. Walt Kelly was right.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:04PM (#33951884) Homepage

    Anyone who uses PlaysForSure as an example of an "Open" technology is spewing random bullshit with NOTHING to back it up... I'll get more information from fldksjc;jlssdljl than such random baseless claims.

    PlaysForSure failed because it was a fundamentally closed technology, designed with the express purpose of closing down the devices it was installed on. Being closed doesn't work unless you have major market share (which Apple does in the music realm.)

  • He never does this (Score:5, Informative)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @04:06PM (#33951912) Journal

    Jobs never does stuff like this. He is very worried. He must have gotten a peak the latest Android growth figures. It's not slowing or even staying the same, it's exploding at a rate Apple can't match on several fronts. Manufacturing alone has to be the biggest worry. They just can't match the output of HTC, Samsung, and Motorola who are all spitting them out as fast as they can. That doesn't even scratch the surface. With all these smartphones coming out, you are going to be able to buy them for next to nothing or even get them free. Apple doesn't want any part of that, but it's coming.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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