Steve Jobs plays coy about Google/Eric Schmidt betrayal, avoids the topic with amusing “sex life” retort

Tue, Jun 1, 2010


It’s no secret that Apple and Google, once the best of Silicon Valley friends, are now competing against each other on a number of fronts: Apple has the iPhone, Google has Android. Google is the king of search, and Apple is planning to roll out its own advertising platform very soon. Then there’s Chrome, and when you toss in Google’s recent Google TV announcement, not to mention the many potshots taken at Apple and Steve Jobs during Google’s I/O conference, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat on Apple’s Board of Directors.

Schmidt, of course, resigned from Apple’s board in August ’09 due to “conflict of interest” concerns, and while an Apple press release on the matter praised Schmidt for his effectiveness as an Apple board member, there’s no doubt that Apple must have felt betrayed by Schmidt given that Google undoubtedly had competing products in the pipeline while Schmidt served as a board member on both Google and Apple’s board of directors.

This past January, at an employee-only Q&A session that followed the announcement of the iPad, Jobs drove the point home when he called out Google for trying to take on the iPhone.  “Make no mistake about it,” Jobs reportedly stated, “they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.” Later, Jobs said something to the effect of, “This don’t be evil mantra is a load of crap.”

With that background providing some context, let’s move forward to Jobs’ recent sit down interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the All Things D conference which got underway on Tuesday evening.

During the interview, which touched on a wide assortment of topics. Mossberg asked Jobs about what went down with Eric Schmidt. Jobs casually replied that Google decided to compete with Apple, and not the other way around.

Pressing further, Mossberg asked if Schmidt at anytime called Jobs, presumably to discuss Google’s plans to compete head to head with Apple. Jobs responded, “No, they started competing with us and it got more and more serious.”

And then, Mossberg cut to the chase, asking Jobs about his relationship (with Google/Schmidt).

Jobs, keenly aware of where the conversation was going, cut things short with an off-the-cuff and amusing remark, stating “My sex life is pretty good these days. How’s yours?”

Well that certainly is a creative way to stop a line of questioning in its tracks!

In any event, Mossberg then asked if Jobs just woke up one morning and heard about Android. Jobs responded “Kinda.”

Pressing once more, Kara then asked Jobs he views Google as a competitor and how he feels about them. Jobs, repeating an oft-quoted line, responded, “Well they decided to compete with us. We didn’t go into the search business!”


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