“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they write four apoplectic blog posts in 24 hours disparaging minute subtleties in your choice of font. Then you win.”
Googler DeWit Clinton wrote this on Google+ today, and it was referencing John Gruber‘s (Apple enthusiast, developer, and blogger) ridiculous night of bashing the new Android font featured in Ice Cream Sandwich. I saw all those posts the night before, and I found it funny that the font was all Gruber had opinions about. I agreed with Clinton right away, but something else came up today that proves this point.
I got rid of Gizmodo from my reading list a while back because I don’t find it a valid news source. I don’t even find it an entertaining site, if that’s what they were going for. However, Lemuel Cantos, a Google+ buddy of mine, shared a link someone from his circles posted; it is a Gizmodo link. And it is of interest, at least for me. It speaks on Steve Jobs’
hatred fear towards Android. This is what Mr. Jobs said:
“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. [...] I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”
A stolen product? It seems that whenever someone comes out with a product that competes with Apple, they start whining about how much others stole from them. In fact, that’s always Apple’s late reaction. First they brush it off as if it’s nothing, then when they realize it’s about to get bigger than they could ever be, they get scared and claim that they’ve been “copied”. Oh, and let’s not forget the famous Picasso quote that Steve Jobs was such a fan of:
“Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.”
I’m not afraid to say I don’t like Apple. In fact, I’m very open about it. I don’t agree with their selfish philosophy, nor do I think they make fantastic products. They make pretty products, no doubt, but that’s about where it all ends. They have an egoist mentality; a selfish, closed ideology; and they regularly sound like a five-year-old complaining about how unfair life is.
If Apple wasn’t so whiny, I would never speak about how they’ve copied Android numerous times around. When other companies copy from each other, I never complain. Android has copied iOS, Windows Phone 7, webOS, Symbian, Blackberry, and they’ve all copied back. But they aren’t copying anything; these are standards being set for user experience. If each OS was desperately different, users would have a hard time switching. Also, having similar functionality allows growth on the experience; like they say – when something’s done right, why try to change it at all? Take that functionality and make it better.
Being a technologist, I strongly believe in innovation, but I also agree with the idea of picking up where others left off and growing from that. If something is done right, make it a standard. If it isn’t, show an alternative method that you believe would be better. Everyone builds on each others ideas, especially UX design. Android did it with ICS folders, Apple did it with iOS5 notifications, Microsoft did it with Vista system-wide search, and so on and so forth. I’m not saying stop innovating – I’m saying don’t try and improve perfection. If something works, it just works.
Android did not copy iOS. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. In fact, I’d argue that it doesn’t look much like iOS at all, but I’ll still give you that.
The overall framework is significantly more powerful, and is arguably much more innovative. iOS is a platform for apps, Android is more than that. In fact, I would say it’s a platform for platforms. Not only can you grab the source and make your own OS like Amazon or Barnes & Noble did, but the open nature of the framework makes it incredibly easy to make a platform on top of the Android system. I’m talking about a platform you can get from the Android Market and make it a part of your overall experience.
I mean, look at this developer who’s making a keyboard for the blind. This can be made using the standard Android SDK and can be thrown on the Market just like any other app. Amazing, and only the tip of the iceberg. It excites me to no end, which is why I advocate for Android as much as I do.
iOS is apps and…apps. Android is more functional, more powerful, more extensible, and breeds innovation. This power was clearly underestimated by Steve Jobs & Company. Apple can try destroying Android, but the fact is that a platform that plants the seeds for more platforms can’t be destroyed. It’s literally impossible.
Good artists may borrow and great artists may steal, but true innovators breed innovators.
“Then you win.”