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Steve Jobs ranted, raged against Android as 'grand theft'

Excerpts from Steve Jobs' about-to-be-published biography show the source and character of Apple's aggressive patent war against the rival Android mobile operating system.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs is quoted telling his biographer, Walter Isaacson, whose book, "Steve Jobs," is to be published Monday. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

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The excerpts were detailed in a story by The Associated Press which purchased a copy of the book on Thursday.

According to Isaacson, Jobs was "livid" when HTC introduced in early 2010 an Android phone that offered many features found on Apple's iPhone, which runs Apple's iOS firmware. "Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to 'grand theft," according to the AP account.

Apple's patent suits against Android handset makers, most notably Samsung, have unfolded in the legalese of court filings and motions. But Isaacson's book makes clear the depth and breadth of Jobs' outrage and determination.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

While Jobs public image was one of casual cool, Isaacson's account reveals an emotional side of Jobs that was rarely seen in his cultivated public persona.

According to the AP story, "Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google's Internet-based word processing program. In a subsequent meeting with [then Google CEO and Apple board member Eric] Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn't interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says. 'I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want.'" The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.

This week, at a conference call to discuss fourth quarter earnings, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated, without the expletives and without using the word "destroy," Apple's apparently undiminished opposition to Android.

Cook was asked to explain Apple's "goal" in the patent suits. "We spend a lot of time and money and resource in coming up with incredible innovation," he said. "And don't like when someone else takes those. Unfortunately, we've been pushed into the court system as a remedy." He declined to comment on particular patent suits.

Apple has had a notable recent, though still preliminary, legal victory in Australia against Samsung. It won an interim injunction to prevent the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia until the legal proceedings between the two companies have been resolved.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.


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