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Apple CEO Steve Jobs: See, we're better than you, Google

Audio from Apple's financial results conference call

Updated at 10:36 a.m. with Google response on Twitter:

Google hasn't formally responded to Apple CEO Steve Jobs's slam on Android. But on Twitter Monday evening, Google's head of Android engineering, Andy Rubin, sent out his first tweet ever and it appeared to be in response to Jobs's criticism of the Android mobile operating system.

While Jobs's criticism was plainspoken, Rubin chose engineering code speak to reinforce that Android is indeed an open platform:

Rubin wrote: "the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git:// ; repo sync ; make"

That tweet, by the way, boosted his Twitter following from zero to more than 5,000 overnight. CEO Eric Schmidt "retweeted" Rubin's one-line missive Tuesday morning.

On Henry Blodgett's Silicon Alley Insider blog, a reader helped decode the tweet:
Here's the reader's translation:

It's a set of operating commands to load Android onto a unix system (presumably linux which runs on just about everything).

*mkdir android - makes a directory called "android"

* cd android - changes directory to the new android directory

* the next longwinded command downloads code to generate an Android system (and yes - you can see how that works)

* I do not know what repo sync does -

* and the last command is the compilation command.

Original post:

Those who tuned in to Apple’s record earnings call got a surprise visit from CEO Steve Jobs, who used the occasion to rant about his competitors, particularly Google.

Apple’s stellar $20 billion fourth quarter in revenues provided evidence, Jobs said, that his firm’s often-criticized control over the iPhone is working. Jobs hasn't participated in an earnings conference call in two years but said he decided to do so because of the company's extraordinary results from the iPhone's 91 percent increase in sales.

Google has touted its system as more “open,” allowing the development of applications on multiple hardware and software interfaces. That, Jobs said, creates a “daunting challenge” for developers and users who are instead stuck with a fragmented smart phone system compared to what he described as Apple’s “integrated” approach.

“When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time,” Jobs said.

“Even if Google were right and the real issue is closed versus open, it’s worthwhile to remember that open systems don’t always win,” he said.

The defense of Apple’s tightly controlled applications store -- which some called a “walled garden” -- come amid increasing criticism by some developers and academics. They say Apple’s insistence on vetting applications that run on its iPhone and iPad may be anticompetitive.

Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain has called Apple’s a “gatekeeper” of the Internet through its applications store.

“If Apple is the gatekeeper to a device’s uses, the governments of the world need knock on the door of only one office in Cupertino, California -- Apple’s headquarters -- to demand changes to code or content,” he wrote in an op-ed that ran in the Financial Times last February. “Users no longer own or control the apps they run -- they merely rent them minute by minute.”

Apple reportedly faced scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission for its decision to block Adobe’s flash software from the iPad, a move that critics called anticompetitive. Apple earlier this month relaxed its third-party applications policy, allowing Adobe’s software. Adobe had complained to the FTC about the practice.

Jobs’ comments come amid an increasingly competitive landscape for smart phones. Nielsen reported earlier this month that Android phones were being purchased more quickly than iPhones or Blackberries. In its August survey, 32 percent of new users (people who bought a phone within the past six months) purchased a device running on Google's operating system, more than double the portion of new users surveyed in January. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry operating system and Apple's iPhone were behind at about 25 percent of the market each.

By Cecilia Kang  | October 19, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Antitrust, Apple, Google  
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This if funny:

An iPhone (retail price in the U.S. $300) only costs $100 to manufacture in China. Some $50 are retailers' costs. And the remaining $150 goes directly to... you got it... Steve Jobs' pocket.

And some people blame the Chinese for exploiting Americans!!!!

Posted by: jdsolano | October 18, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Who are the dorks who think Apple is cool with their proprietary everything and their inferior hardware. Jobs is half a Nazi. Not only do the dweebs buy into the Jobs cult of personality though that is bad enough, they also pay more and get less with every Apple product.

Posted by: screwjob21 | October 18, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

What about the cost to develop it? To bet billions on a new product that may fail spectacularly. Steve Jobs deserves what her earns. Do the Chinese who through their manipulation of the open International trade system, their stealing of intellectual property of others, and exploitation of their own citizenry?

Posted by: rjain13 | October 18, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

When my contract is up with my iPhone, I'm switching. I like it, but the 3G sucks.

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | October 19, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

The most amusing part of this debate is who is not involved - the klutzes from Microsoft and the bozos from RIM.

Apple's renaissance can almost entirely be traced to MSoft's abject failures. Jobs realized that there was an extraordinary hunger out there for well-packaged products which just plain worked. The iPhone was just one of a suite of winners. All of them were designed and nurtured by an Apple which had more cash and more users due to Vista.

The fact that Apple is, in its own way, just as controlling, monopolistic, and profit hungry as its cousin from Redmond was irrelevant. "1984" is a long way in the rear view mirror. Now that Jobs v. Gates has been replaced by Jobs v. Ballmer, who cares?

Google leaped into the breach left by Microsoft and Blackberry (the Microsoft of smart phones)with Android. I think the contest between Google and Apple is great. No one is forcing you to buy either. So you have an awfully well made closed system and a dynamically growing open system. Take your pick. I suspect that the number of people picking Android is what prompted the Jobs rant.

I am a prisoner of Blackberry until my IT guy and my clients free me from it. Like Microsoft, RIM started out with a near monopoly and is blowing it by being fat and dumb. My kids have Droids which leave me green with envy. My closest friends have iPhones which seem pretty good as well. (Until the Droid there was no one in second place)

Anyhow, the moment I am freed from BB servitude, I will get one or the other. Right now I probably lean toward Android, but things could change - especially if iPhones go on better networks.

Posted by: revanchist | October 19, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Guess anti trust laws only apply to those who do NOT make large political contributions.

This no longer a Democracy, but a Cashrarocy.

Posted by: bkarpus | October 19, 2010 4:52 AM | Report abuse

Jobs has the nerve to attack Google for doing a small part of what Apple does? What a greedy jerk.

Posted by: pjohn2 | October 19, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Apple has a right to make it and take it, and I have seen the new Droid phones, EVO,X2,etc. And while they have a promising future, they still aren't as refined as the Iphone 4. I am dumping my Blackberry to get one. And the IPad is a great product as well. In this economy pretenders don't do well. Apple is no pretender. Plus I have some issues with Verizon.

Posted by: wrxman | October 19, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"...users who want their devices to just work..."

For me, this is key. I know what I'm getting with an iPhone. Android, not so much - hardware specs are different, interfaces are different, carriers are different.

I'm willing to do some research for laptops and PCs. But, for a phone, I want it to be easy and idiot-proof. If that makes me a lemming, so be it.

Posted by: HerndonBiker | October 19, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"An iPhone (retail price in the U.S. $300) only costs $100 to manufacture in China. Some $50 are retailers' costs. And the remaining $150 goes directly to... you got it... Steve Jobs' pocket."

Steve, sorry you spent years and years doing R&D, market research, heck, being creative. You get no return-on-investment. Your shareholders shouldn't either. People (millions) see the value of a $300 smart phone? There must be something wrong with them.

jdsolano, maybe you should visit China, where communism, not capitalism, is the guiding principle, see how the country's citizens enjoy the fruits of that system.

Posted by: tom_t | October 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm tired of the manufactured rivalry among users. There's a place for both approaches in the marketplace, and consumers benefit from the choices. The iPhone is the perfect phone for my wife who falls into that category that Jobs describes of people who just want it to work intuitively. For me, the iPhone OS feels to constraining, and I just don't quite fit with the iPhone approach. But, Android is a great match. So, she's happy with her iPhone and I'm happy with my Droid. I'm MOST happy with the fact that there is competition and choices so that we can both have what works best for each of us.

Posted by: jchj | October 19, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Apple's ROI is about 20%, not 50%. R&D and, yes, advertising cost money. By the way, the price of an iPhone that the consumer pays is subsidized by the carrier. It's more than $300.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 19, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Lots of people believe Apple just blows and Jobs seems to be coming unhinged.

Posted by: HillRat | October 19, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

An explanation of repo and git is here:

So, "repo init -u" installs repo from the remote directory in the URL listed. Then, "repo sync" synchronizes the files.

Posted by: AlexRemington | October 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful. Share a website with you , ( Believe you will love it. Accept paypal or credit card and free shipping.You can try Oh, give you satisfaction guarantee.

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Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Posted by: xiw18 | October 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

who cares if you can download android source and compile it on your *nix box. by definition, sure, it's open.

in practice, jobs has a point.

i have an htc incredible and love it. but as delivered, it sure wasn't open. since then, i've rooted it, and loaded a custom cooked ROM, but it is still a fractured platform, which I guess is OK for Google, really, it's not their problem. Andoid is open, free to whomever, but in the market, over half the apps are crap and several may steal your private identifying information, and they don't care.

Dev tools for android suck, and developers have to somehow ensure their app will run on the myriad of tinkered with devices with some carrier/handset manufacturer's hacked up version on android. Fun.

Posted by: bigal197 | October 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Google is a threat to all competitors. That's the reason for the harsh words. Nothing new here.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

It's a free market. Apple sells devices that usually work well, and are elegant too. People seem to be willing and able to pay a premium for these products and that's how capitalism works. They're not doing anything wrong by restricting apps on their platform,..... IT IS THEIR PLATFORM, is it not?
Personally, I'm not willing to pay for their products because they are too expensive and other solutions exist, such as Android. So,.....while Apple has the right to control their platform, I also have the right, to ignore it.

Posted by: realneil | October 19, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The only thing Google has made any money on is advertising. ... and a lot of money at that. But nothing else has generated anything for them and Android isn't going to either.

I don't have a single Apple hardware product. But I know this. I don't see Apple users tossing their Apple products away in any significant numbers.

And while I know what "root" is, I have as much interest in "root" for my cell phone as I do in where "root" is in my car or television OSs. I don't want to reprogram my car or television firmware. I want to turn it on and have it work.

Posted by: James10 | October 19, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I blame Obama.

Posted by: jobro1 | October 19, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

My so-called "Open" Samsung Vibrant from T-Mobile just got bricked by their wonderful OTA Update to JI6. That kind of thing never happened when I had an iPhone. He's right about the fractured nature of Android. As something that I depend on for business travel, I'd rather have a closed system that works than this nonsense. The only thing "Open" about Android on my phone is the ability to root it which any update breaks just like the iPhone and Jailbreaking. After using an iPhone for years and on my 3rd Android phone I really don't see Android as being any more "Open" than the iPhone. The Google Experience phones might come closest to being "Open" but as long as the manufacturers are fragmenting and controlling Android, its not "Open". Doesn't matter if you can develop applications on it from many platforms. If the Carriers and Hardware Manufacturers say something can't be done and you have to root your device to do it, where is the difference between Android and iOS. There isn't, its just like iOS and Jailbreaking.

Posted by: prospero4 | October 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

For over 20 years I hated Apple for their "closed" and proprietary systems. After all this is America - everything should be open and free - hmmm - another issue I guess.

Anyhow, after running a Windows network for the last 10 years and becoming increasingly more frustrated with hardware and software that just wouldn't work - we switched lock, stock and barrel to Apple and haven't looked back. We're actually getting work done rather than fiddling and futzing around with spyware, viruses, and all the idiot error messages that used to keep popping up. We've slimmed down from 11 servers to 2 and I don't need a degree in Astro-Physics to run the network.

Yep - IMHO Apple is the ONLY technology company that understands end users and I'm willing to be led around by the nose by Steve and crew because I'm GETTING WORK DONE! (Oh yeah, I already said that.)

I'm not saying EVERYTHING is hunky-dory - Apple has it's strain points as well - but all in all I'm happy as a pig in mud!

Posted by: GonzoFan | October 19, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

There are people who love driving with stick shift and those who like automatic. As long as both are available, consumers, not rhetoric, will decide what sells.

Posted by: gyuri | October 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Steve Jobs looks as though he's at death's door. "What does it profit a man if he gain-eth the world but lose his soul?"

Posted by: vince33x | October 19, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I like apples even though they make me fart.

Posted by: hc2254 | October 19, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I heard some dopey broad on Fox Business describe Apple's 4th quarter $20 billion in revenue as "earnings." Do business reporters not understand the difference between earnings and revenues?
For that matter, does the public?

Posted by: vince33x | October 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

let's see who gets hit hardest by hackers and cyberterrorists - the open droid system or the closed apple one - and who recovers from it the easiest.
i think for that reason i will stick with Apple. that kind of control i can live with.

Posted by: kbtoledo | October 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed that the Post feels they have to tell their readers what to think instead of simply reporting the news.

Any publication that uses a loaded word like "rant" to describe how a newsmaker behaves is clearly pushing an agenda.

And the rest of the article make it clear what that agenda is. Instead of focusing on the quarterly Apple report, the actual news, Ms Kang dredged up every anti-Apple news item from the last year to do her Apple bashing.

Mainstream media like the Post wonder why many of us prefer getting our news from other venues. And Ms Kang's biased reporting is a great reason not to trust the Post.

The fact is that Google and Apple have differing approaches. Google's is more open ended, Apple's is more focused on a consistent usability approach.

Clearly both approaches are popular with users. But Ms Kang wants to turn user choice into something almost political.

Posted by: ttrub | October 19, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

When I am faced with a choice of 'proprietary' (apple, microsoft) or 'open source' (google and scores of others), I will take open source every time.

I like choice, and competition.

Posted by: dave19 | October 19, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

So awesome when nerds argue...

Posted by: damnit79 | October 19, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The primary fact is the startling competitive success of Android. Steve Jobs appears worried. Clearly he can count on a large group of people who think being hot with tech is equivalent to tucking money in his wallet. But Android appears to be a commercial success that is built on top of technological innovation. Only time will tell how the legal issues play out and how much the success of Android is sustained. But Steve Jobs' monopoly is under attack. He is worried and he should be.

Posted by: dnjake | October 19, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

let's see who gets hit hardest by hackers and cyberterrorists - the open droid system or the closed apple one - and who recovers from it the easiest.
i think for that reason i will stick with Apple. that kind of control i can live with.

Posted by: kbtoledo | October 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

kbtoledo--by all means,we should buy an Apple product because the terrorist are coming. Chicken Little would be proud of your logic.

Posted by: jselt1 | October 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Steve Jobs could use a portion of his profits to buy a razor and shave once in a while.

Posted by: DedicatedCitizen | October 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I love love love my Droid- the centralized control Apple business model is the past - Google and open innovation is the future. My favorite feature on the Driod? voice recognition software. Say it and it is done.

Posted by: mastin | October 19, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I was very happy with my new Ipad until I disovered the unremovable HTML5 cookie databases that can track and report my unique ID, my browsing, my location, my sim card data ... if the platform were open I might have a fighting chance at escaping these zombie cookies.

Posted by: tghnnzamcdeouiy225wwt | October 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Apple & Google stockholders are loving life. It's fantastic to have competition and a choice of two excellent phones.

Posted by: JBinVA1 | October 19, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

When I want to do things besides fiddle with computer related issues, I use my Apple products.

When my friends ask me to fix their non-Apple stuff, I am reminded why I don't own products that claim to be, "as good as", "just like", or, "bigger, better, faster", than (insert Apple product name here). It's better to pay the extra few dollars and get the thing the other products want to be.

Posted by: PhilSeymour | October 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Kang's use of the word "rant" is a clear sign of unreasoning anti-Apple bias. Jobs may have used direct language to express his views during the conference call, but his arguments were uniformly cogent and sound. The only rant in evidence is coming from some of Ms. Kang's rabid fans, who seem to share her irrational prejudices.

Benjamin Pilkington

Posted by: iedsri | October 19, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Steverino has to decide which side of the fence he is standing on. When the shoe is on the other foot and Apple computers are DOA in the enterprise, then his rant is about how oppressive Microsoft, Oracle, HP, and Cisco are. Developers for those mixed platforms seem to have stepped up to the "daunting challenge" of development of applications on multiple hardware and software interfaces. When the goldfish are nibbling at his iPhone toes, then he gets all paranoid about that. He’s probably a little -- justifiably -- cranky about how much Safari sucks as a browser, even on Mac, and Google’s growth in that market. If free browser software can be referred to as a market.

Keeping Flash off of the iPhone and iPad is perfectly within Apple’s rights. But then he shouldn’t go ballistic when some users want, and some developers want to write for, devices which use that platform.

There is something to be said for uniformity. It would be nice if all Android phones ran v2.2 today. But that decision is up to the handset makers and wireless carriers, not Google.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | October 19, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to try those Linux commands on my Ubuntu Linux system at home and see what happens!

Posted by: TheNervousCat | October 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

re Rant:
It's a rant when his facts are off and intentionally misleading (as they normally are). He compares "open" to MS' "playsforsure" (a certification for media player devices)... Some explain to me how those two are related?

He compares his September ending count to RIM's August ending shipping. Yeah, that's fair considering September is the month that a *LOT* of people buy phones (due to Back 2 School specials and such)

re Open:
It's more open as in 95% of the user experience can be changed. Not enough home screens or want a landscape homescreen? Change it! (OpenHome, LauncherPro) Don't like your browser? Change it! (Skyfire, Firefox, Dolphin)

Have you seen Smart Taskbar or the QuickDesk apps? It's awesome for quick access to apps, and you just press back when you're done to resume what you're doing. It's like an auto-hidden start bar for Windows (Smart Taskbar).

And this is just with apps on the market. No compilation needed.

re Hackers:
You realize that Google can still pull apps from the market (and from mobile devices) yes?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 21, 2010 4:43 AM | Report abuse

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