The Schmidt Bullshit

It certainly isn’t news that corporate people often lie or bend the truth their way, but it still strikes me how people put up with high-caliber bullshit from them. A recent example of this is Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive Chairman (and former CEO), answering a question about Android being a “stolen product” at a press conference in South Korea:

I would also point out that the Android efforts started before the iPhone efforts. And that’s all I have to say.

While Google did purchase Android (a project stared in 2003 by Andy Rubin, Apple’s former engineer) back in 2005, two years before Apple’s announcement of the original iPhone, back then it was nothing like the iPhone (and nobody then claimed that it was a stolen product) — it was developed for a blackberry-styled non-touchscreen smartphones with hardware keyboards, hence the early hardware prototypes.

Smartphones, that Android was initially developed for

Smartphones, that Android was initially developed for

However, since Schmidt was on Apple’s board of directors from 2006 to 2009 and had access to Apple’s pre-released products (including the iPhone), Google had more than enough time and opportunities to steer the development of Android into a more iPhone-like direction, using insider information from Schmidt. The result? In November 2007 (more than a half-year after the iPhone announcement) Google finally announced Android, even showing a touch-screen device side by side with the said blackberry-styled device.

Anyone can clearly see in the video above, that the said “touchscreen device” and most of it’s user-interface is almost exclusively operated with hardware buttons — a clear indication that Android was initially designed for non-touchscreen devices. Of course, a few years of development made Android into somethings that’s more suited for touchscreen smartphones, which had total domination in the Android ecosystem from day one.

Was the development of Android started before iPhone’s announcement? Obviously, it was. Did it’s development start earlier that the iPhone’s development? Unlikely (only people at Apple know this), but still possible. But lets not compare Apples to Oranges, ok? How about some objectivity? Was the announcement of Android made before iPhone’s announcement? Nope.

Ok, now lets look at the facts:

  • The development of Android as a mobile operating system started before iPhone’s official announcement in January 2007;
  • Back then, before the iPhone’s announcement, Android was developed for non-touchscreen devices;
  • Google’s CEO was on Apple’s board of directors during the iPhone’s development and obviously saw the device months before it’s announcement;
  • Android, having very rudimentary support for touchscreen devices, was announced after the iPhone;

The conclusion is rather obvious, isn’t it? ;-) So, while Schmidt’s answer can be considered true at least to some degree, you have to be very naive to believe his words. A goods sign of this is also in semantics of the response — notice that it doesn’t have any sign of complete denial in it, i.e. Schmidt simply doesn’t want to be caught lying and tries to bend the truth his way.

Thoughts on tech