I was sitting in the San Francisco office of Bloomberg when Charlie Rose came on the screen. He was interviewing Eric Schmidt, chairman and former CEO of Google. Schmidt was waxing eloquent about Steve Jobs, who sadly passed away earlier this week. It was the start of incessant barrage of “commentary” by Schmidt, in all sorts of media outlets. It is kind off ironic.
Sure Schmidt knew Jobs! At some point they might have been friends. However, the way he has been taking to the airwaves and giving interviews, you might think they were co-stars in a buddy movie. That is just not true. He got bounced by Steve and Apple once they realized Google’s smartphone ambitions. He was unceremoniously dropped from the Apple board. Jobs had little or no time for Google and its chairman. “Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them. Don’t be evil is a load of crap” is how Steve is supposed to have addressed the troops at a company Townhall back in January 2010.
In March 2010, Brad Stone then writing for the New York Times quoted an unnamed Silicon Valley investor/power player who described Apple vs Google as World War III. “Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry. This is emotional. This is the biggest ego battle in history. It’s incendiary.”
The most recent report from the New York Times paints a different picture. “All those reports in the press were wrong. After I left the board, they had me to events and to private dinners,” he told Quentin Hardy.
That said, I do think by placing a link to Steve Jobs 1955-2011 on the Apple website from the Google home page was one helluva crazy gesture.