One of the great things about the release of the Walter Isaacson biography detailing the life and times of Steve Jobs, was that we learned much more of events and instances that we’d only previously gathered the crux of. We hear names, we see keynotes, we enjoy products; but the ins and outs of what exactly goes on tend to remain obscured from the public eye – at least until another extensive book hits the market. Fred Vogelstein’s Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, is a self-explanatory tale of two modern-day tech titans, and The Atlantic has posted an interesting piece dissecting a particular chapter about the release of the iPhone and notably, Google’s reaction.
See, Google had been working on its own Android infrastructure, and hoped to make a big impression the smartphone market with the eventual announcement of its first handset. Engineers had been slaving away, working all the hours under the sun, while travelling around the world to pick up certain parts for the design of its new device.
Then, along came Steve Jobs with the announcement of the Apple iPhone. It didn’t just change everything for the consumer, but left the competition completely dumbfounded. It showed innovation way beyond what any other company had dared to try. Software specialist Chris DeSalvo’s reaction summed up the mood around Google following the original iPhone’s keynote:
As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’ What we had suddenly looked just so . . . nineties.
Google had been building what it thought was the perfect nuke in its war with Microsoft, and yet here was Apple, led by the maverick Jobs, who’d managed to convince wireless carriers that he and his troops could build a smartphone that could revolutionize the market.
The excerpts over at The Atlantic make for pretty engrossing read, and tell a detailed story of how the often sour battle between Microsoft and Google saw their attentions averted, allowing Apple to steam in and leave two of tech’s most iconic companies essentially playing catch-up.
It’s fair to say that since 2007, Google and Android has done a far better job in challenging Apple than Microsoft, but although Vogelstein’s Silicon Valley-centered tale sounds enticing, one has to wonder – given the current position of Microsoft being far behind the smartphone arena’s Big Two – what the next decade brings in terms of innovation.
If you want to relive the magical moment of the original iPhone’s unveiling, we’ve embedded the whole keynote below for you to enjoy: