Jobs Biography Shows 'Thermonuclear' War Against Android

Barry Levine, <a href='http://www.newsfactor.com'>newsfactor.com</a>

Steve Jobs went "thermonuclear" against Google over Android, delayed his cancer surgery, and refused to meet with Barack Obama unless the president personally invited him. Those are some of the revelations in the new authorized biography of Steve Jobs by journalist Walter Isaacson.

The book, which hits stores Monday, is discussed in an interview with Isaacson on "60 Minutes," and advance copies have gone out to the press.

'Destroy Android'

According to the biography, Jobs made a decision to delay by nine months his surgery for pancreatic cancer. During that time, the Apple co-founder and CEO tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other alternative treatment -- including consultation with a psychic.

Jobs is quoted in the book as saying that he "really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work." He finally had the surgery in July 2004.

In early 2010, when HTC introduced a smartphone running Google's open-source operating system Android, Jobs hit the roof, Isaacson reported. Jobs told Isaacson that Android amounted to "grant theft" because it ripped off many of the features of the iPhone.

"I will spend my last dying breath, if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank," Jobs told Isaacson, "to right this wrong." Jobs made it clear he was out to "destroy Android," and he made it clear to Eric Schmidt, the former Apple board member who is CEO of Google, that he didn't want to settle.

"If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it," he's quoted as telling Schmidt. "I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android."

Disney's Company, Post-Disney

This background about Jobs' attitude comes as Apple has won several patent-infringement battles against Android in Europe and Australia, and it is pursuing a wide range of legal actions against HTC, Samsung and others worldwide.

Some patent-law observers have suggested that the battles, such as the coming trial against Samsung in Australia, could result in Apple crippling Android's viability. Given that Jobs was adamantly opposed to settling, one question is whether the new Apple management, under CEO Tim Cook, might be willing to accept some resolution.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence, said she expected that "Tim Cook will forge his own path" on this issue, although she noted that there was no sign "in the immediate future of any cessation of these legal hostilities."

DiDio pointed out that many of the computer industry pioneers and leaders -- Oracle's Larry Ellison, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and others -- similarly had the "shoot from the lip" style that Jobs did.

She said Jobs, who has been compared to Edison, was more like Walt Disney in his ability to create an entire culture and sensibility around his products. DiDio said Jobs pointed out that, after Disney's death, "the company floundered as it kept asking, 'What would Walt do?' " Jobs, she said, knew that Disney's company, in the post-Disney era, "had to make its own decisions."

"What strikes me is that post-Jobs Apple," she said, "is still very well positioned, with a team of very creative people."