Steve Jobs has dubbed Google's "don't be evil" mantra "bullshit." Or at least "a load of crap."
According to multiple reports, Jobs unloaded on Google last week during an Apple "town hall" meeting at the company's One Infinite Loop headquarters. As originally reported by Wired, the Apple cult leader attacked his former Mountain View ally for its recent entry into the phone-selling business, before landing an unprompted blow on Google's much-discussed "don't be evil" corporate motto.
"We did not enter the search business," Jobs said in reference to Google. "They entered the phone business. Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them."
According to Wired, an Apple employee then popped up with a completely unrelated question, but Jobs wasn't done with Google. "I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing," he said. "This 'Don’t be evil' mantra: It’s bullshit.”
But other reports insist Jobs didn't actually say "It's bullshit." According to the Apple-obsessed Daring Fireball blog, he said: "'Don't be evil' is a load of crap."
Until sometime last year, Apple and Google were chums. Google chief Eric Schmidt spent three years on Apple's board. Google was installed as the default search engine on the Mac and the iPhone. And according to some, the two tech giants even had a unwritten agreement not to poach each other's employees.
But in August, Apple announced Schmidt's departure from its board, with Steve Jobs saying that Schmidt's effectiveness would be "significantly diminished" now that Google is offering its own mobile operating system, Android, and building its own netbook operating system, Chrome OS.
The two also sparred over Google Voice - Mountain View's new-age telephony app - as Apple refused to let it onto the iPhone, and according to a recent report from Business Week, Apple has now gone so far as to have discussed a search tie-up with former arch-rival Microsoft, a deal that would see Google removed as the Jesus Phone's search default.
After hearing Steve Jobs' anti-Google diatribe at last week's town hall - held in the wake of Apple's iPad announcement - you can't help but wonder if these Redmond talks were sparked by Google's Nexus One phone, introduced on January 5. Google says it didn't design the phone's hardware - HTC did - but the Nexus One carries the Google brand and Google is selling the thing from its very own online store.
A week before Jobs' town hall rant, Schmidt was asked during Mountain View's quarterly earnings call about Google's relationship with Apple. As you might expect, he played down the rift between the two companies.
"I, as a former board member, have a special spot for Apple in my heart - but I will tell you Apple is a very well-run company," he said. "They have a lot of very good stuff coming. We have a couple of very good partnerships with them and we also compete with them in a couple of areas. My guess is that is a pretty stable situation for awhile." ®
During last week's town hall, Jobs also took a swipe at Adobe Flash - still absent from the iPhone and apparently absent from the iPad as well. "They are lazy," Jobs allegedly said of Adobe. "They have all this potential to do interesting things, but they just refuse to do it...Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy...
"Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash...The world is moving to HTML5."