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Vic Gundrota’s revisionist history

Someone flagged this quote from Google VP Vic Gundrota at the Google I/O Keynote keynote today, explaining why Google created Android:

If we did not act, we faced a draconian future. Where one man, one company, one carrier was the future.

That seemed wrong to me, and it turns out my instincts were correct. Matt Drance points out that Google acquired Android in 2005, 18 months before the announcement of the iPhone.

4 Comments

  1. Just watched that video, and that quote is taken out of context. Vic Gundrota is talking about a conversation he had when he started at Google which, according to wikipedia, was June 2007. The iPhone was announced in January 2007.

    It’s not clear from his speech if this was the motivation for android originally, or if it became a focus after the announcement of the iPhone.

  2. I still think it’s BS. When the iPhone was announced, few people thought it was going to dominate the future. A lot of smart people thought it was going to fall flat on its face. Recently Apple has looked hegemonic, but even then, they control a relatively small portion of the mobile space. And given that the iPhone is a single handset and on a single carrier, it’s not really a threat to dominate the mobile market. Tim Bray put up a video of all of the current Android handsets from Google I/O, and there are dozens of them. I think people are confusing Apple’s power over developers on its platform (which they are abusing in ways that I think will ultimately hurt them in the end) and its power in the mobile market, and Google wants to play that up.

  3. Totally fair to point out that Google acquired Android in 2005, but I wonder how far in advance it was known inside the industry that Apple was preparing the iPhone.

    I agree that Vic is just spouting stuff to get people riled up – but I don’t think his statement that Google was originally motivated by Jobs’ iPhone is demonstrably false.

  4. Even had everyone known Apple was working on a phone, nobody predicted that it would be as successful as it has been. I would argue that even now, Apple does not portend a draconian future, and not just because Android is a viable competitor. Apple’s unwillingness to license its OS and limited number of handset models insure that there will be lots of competition in the mobile phone industry, no matter how successful iPhone is.

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