In the last article I posted, I talked about my understanding of the overall feud between Apple and Google and some reasoning behind their legal struggles. At that time I was calling from my own memory of testimony I heard in court and news articles I had read in print and online. As the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial came to an end, I went to a talk at Kepler’s books concerning a recent release. WIRED Magazine editor Fred Vogelstein’s book Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution is an excellent look at the Apple Google conflict and its implications on the world going forward.
The book is mainly about what has been happening at Apple and Google back to when they decided to enter the mobile market. Fred Vogelstein has been covering tech for years, and for this book he got interviews from various inside sources about the events we talk about. I have been following the Apple Google story for a while as I mentioned in my last article, and I was able to learn some tidbits like how in the original unveiling of Apple’s phone the device was hard coded to show the maximum signal to not create any distractions. I also learned about the competition between the Apple mobile software head Scott Forstall and the Apple hardware head Tony Fadell. I saw Forstall at the 2012 trial, and now I have a better understanding of why he was forced out of the company following the release of iOS 6. It was also great to recall stories I learned about by witnessing them in the courtroom, such as Forstall’s explanation of how he hired Apple employees to work on what would become the Apple mobile operating system and how Judge Lucy Koh told Samsung attorney John Quinn to take a seat because she was not going to let Samsung present evidence that the market was already moving toward what Apple built in their own phone. The story of how Andy Rubin went from developing a mobile operating system on a Sidekick to creating Android is also in the book.
Moreover, Dogfight is a story about corporate culture. You learn in the book how Steve Jobs got control to make a phone his way, not by a phone carrier company as it was standard business practice years ago. You discover the main difference between Apple and Google is that Apple is centered around marketing while Google is about engineering. Google did hire a consultant in its earlier years to develop a marketing plan, but they did not use it because Google thought correctly that the quality of Google’s search would be enough to sell Google’s services. Vogelstein explains the breakdown in relationships between the two companies. The Google heads looked up to Steve Jobs as a role model, and Jobs felt personally betrayed when Google decided to seriously enter the mobile phone market. Steve Jobs’ comments on Google are known from other sources, but it’s still good to see them compiled in Vogelstein’s book.
In the end, Dogfight is an entertaining, light read about how Apple and Google worked to change the landscape of the mobile device market. The book closes with talk of the transformation of media glossing over details in order to present an overview of the situation. If you are familiar with the Apple Google conflict, you probably heard most of the information in the book before. Should you be unfamiliar about the subject or should you be curious about extra details, take a look at the book. I enjoyed reading Fred Vogelstein’s book Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, and I hope you do too.