Did Google Really Cripple Android to Please Apple?

By  |  Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 9:13 am

google_g1_logoVentureBeat has one of the more surprising stories that I’ve seen so far this year: that Google may have intentionally crippled Android in an effort to please Apple. Multi-touch support was apparently part of the G1 until Cupertino got wind of it, the site reports.

Apple asked Google not to use the technology, and it was removed. Something tells me it wasn’t just a simple “please:” look at the company’s not-so-veiled threats against Palm. It appears as if Apple is going to be quite protective of its intellectual property, and the functionality that separates the iPhone from the pack.

I personally do not like the fact that Google caved in so easily. While yes, Apple does have a significant stake in multi-touch as Harry pointed out in January, companies should not let this get in the way of innovation. In fact, its questionable whether apple was really the first to come up with the multi-touch user interface.

Then again, I see why Google would want to please Apple. The two companies are quite close, and Google’s mapping software is one of the signature featurs of the iPhone. Add to this the fact that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is an Apple board member, and well, you can see why they might be more willing to bend over backwards.

Personally, I think its only a matter of time — probably months — before Google has to turn to Apple and say, “I’m sorry, but business is business.”


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Steven Fisher Says:

    Business is smart business, but smart business is avoiding a prolonged patent lawsuit when your interests are served just as well, if not better, by riding on someone else’s success.

    Google has shown more than once that their real interest in browsers is seeing the technology advance to the point that they can take advantage of it with their applications. I’m sure mobile phones are the exact same thing.

  2. Harvey Says:

    Ed, this article does your Web site a disservice.

    First you take a baseless rumor from another site, attributed to “an Android team member” (whenever a nameless source is given you can usually bet that the information is suspect), and then you expand on this rumor with your own misinformation (“Something tells me it wasn’t just a simple “please:” look at the company’s not-so-veiled threats against Palm.”).

    This story is not only a rumor but it also makes no logical sense at all. There are already other multi-touch phones on the market, from companies like Nokia and Samsung to name a couple, and Apple didn’t “threaten” them. There are also PC desktop and notebook computers that use multi-touch… no threats there either.

    Apple does not own the concept of multi-touch. Any company is free to build a product with multi-touch.

    Apple’s IP has to do with specific gestures used by its operating system. This is the equivalent to saying anyone is free to write an operating system, but if you integrate any Windows code, Microsoft will come down on you like a hammer.

    Related to this, when Tim Cook said “We like competition, as long as they don’t rip off our IP. And if they do, were going to go after anybody that does.” it was said as a general statement. It was not pointed at Palm in particular. And yet another baseless rumor flourished when bloggers reported that Apple was preparing to sue Palm.

    It’s about time that these rumor-mongers either start reporting credible, fact-based information, or get out of the business of writing so called “news”.

  3. Gianpo Says:

    I agree with you 100%. I saw this story in my rss reader and came to the website to leave the same comment you just posted.

  4. Michael Linehan Says:

    I agree with Harvey, above.

    One point that really boggles my mind… You could take this rumour and discuss it. To me, that is bad enough — there are so many incredibly stupid rumours floating around that people react to. (e.g. Steve Jobs being rushed off in an ambulance.) But you could, at least, be very clear you’re talking about possible implications of a possible occurrence that very likely didn’t occur.

    But you haven’t just done that! You go on to state, “I personally do not like the fact that Google caved in so easily.” !!!!!!! What the ************! You have taken a rumour coming from one source, with NO corroboration whatsoever —- and then say that you don’t like the fact that Google caved so easily! I.e. you have taken it as a stone cold fact. Do you believe everything you read? Did you believe the ambulance story, too?

    I really don’t like comments on blogs that descend to emotionally loaded implications or name-calling. And given that, I’m still going to do so right now, and say, “Are you out of your mind?”

  5. Paul Moray Says:

    I agree with Harvey also. Your article is the furthest thing from Journalism that you can get. It is full of false logic and is an embarrassment to your website.

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