Thoughts on Google

The following letter by Steve Jobs was released by Apple in 2024, two years after the start of the second Apple-Google war:

Thoughts on Google

Apple has a long relationship with Google.  In fact, Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt briefly served on Apple’s Board of Directors. Apple was one of the first major companies to build Google’s search engine into its browser.  Google Maps was included in the standard apps on the very first iPhone, so many years ago.  The companies worked closely together during that golden era and there were many good times.  However, after the success of the iPhone, Google made a business decision to create a competing mobile operating system, and since then the two companies have grown apart.  Yet, even today, the two companies have agreements to share many patients and work together on technology standardization issues.  Videos created in iMovie can be uploaded directly to Google’s You Tube.  Beyond that appear to be few joint interests moving into the future.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Google so that customers and critics may better understand why we removed Google’s search engine as a standard option on iCom, iPads and other iOS systems.  Google has characterized our decision as being primarily in retaliation to their carpet bombing of our corporate headquarters in Cupertino, and the ground assault that followed, which resulted in massive casualties among our California employees.  They say I took the attack to be a failed assassination attempt on myself and looked for ways to punish them - but in reality the decision was based on technological issues.  It was in the works long before the unprovoked murder of our staff and the final decision was unrelated to the recent slaughter.  The timing was coincidental, at least on Apple’s part.  Let me explain.

Google’s search engine for many years was one of the better options for users of any operating system to find websites based on keywords.  However, around 2022 after Google changed its motto from “Don’t be Evil” to “Yes.  We’re Evil.  Get Over It.”, subtle and not so subtle changes could be detected in search results.  This could first be noticed when users typed words like “phone,” “communicator,” or “gadgets” which seemed to favor hits directing them to Android products.  But over the last couple years when the word “Apple” was searched only listings relating to the fruit could be found in the first 100,000 results.  The top result for a simple search for “Apple Computer” linked to a website showing how to use wires plugged into a potato to power a lightbulb.  A search for “Steve Jobs” resulted in a listing of websites for portable toilets.  The same search on Google image displays pictures of dog feces.  While even I shared a laugh at that one, it brought to question the credibility of Google’s page ranking system.  More disturbing were what appeared to be efforts to influence political thought: searches for “peace” resulted in listings for “war,” searches for “slavery” brought up results for “freedom.”

Nevertheless, Apple believes in trusting its customers so Google’s search engine remained a choice even after iOS switched to as the default browser.  However, the same day as the attack on, and subsequent destruction of our corporate headquarters, iOS users who switched to Google search found that their devices became infected with a malware program that not only rendered their devices temporary unusable, but attempted to permanently destroy them by overheating the batteries, possibly even causing them to explode and kill the user.  The iOS update that removed the Google search option was a quick response to the discovery of this malware, not the bloody battle in Cupertino.  Google has claimed this malware was an innocent mistake and has been corrected and that removing the Google search option is “sour grapes” on Apple’s part.  However, our only goal is to protect our customers user experience (and it this case their physical well-being).  Corporate politics, the rages of war, even a possible assassination attempt, played no part in the final decision.  If the timing is suspect, Google bares most of the responsibility if one can credibly believe the malware was a simple error. 

To be fair, Google has been clear about their corporate strategy.  In addition to changing its corporate motto, Larry Page has stated that Google's ultimate goal is to take over the world, bring about a thousand years of darkness and feed off the suffering of mankind.  He has also vowed to destroy any and all who stand in his way, “I will crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.”

Apple has a different philosophy.  We believe in competing aggressively in the marketplace by creating amazing, powerful, fun and useful products and applications that enhance people’s lives and perhaps in the process make the world a better place.  Nevertheless, as Google has found out subsequent to their attack, we have the technological capacity to make war, if necessary, and are more than willing to defend our interests from illegal attacks.  In one on one combat, our employees are second to none.  But even in a state of out and out war, our focus is always on to reaching a wider and wider audience by continually delighting our customer base with the best possible products.

Google’s embrace of evil and lust for power is not the reason we have removed their search engine as an option on iOS.  We simply believe there are better and more reliable search tools available for our customers.  Perhaps Google should focus more on making superior products and less on attacking Apple for leaving the past behind.

Steve Jobs
April, 2024