'I'm going to destroy Android': Jobs declared 'thermonuclear war' on Google

Rachel Metz, Barbara Ortutay and Jordan Robertson
October 21, 2011 - 1:35PM


Steve Jobs ... regretted not having surgery earlier.
Steve Jobs ... regretted not having surgery earlier. Photo: Paul Sakuma
A new biography portrays Steve Jobs as a sceptic all his life - giving up religion because he was troubled by starving children, calling executives who took over Apple "corrupt" and delaying cancer surgery in favour of cleansings and herbal medicine.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, to be published in the US on Monday, also says Jobs came up with the company's name while he was on a diet of fruits and vegetables, and as a teenager perfected staring at people without blinking.
The Associated Press purchased a copy of the book on Thursday in the US.
The book delves into Jobs's decision to delay surgery for nine months after learning in October 2003 that he had a neuroendocrine tumour - a relatively rare type of pancreatic cancer that normally grows more slowly and is therefore more treatable.
Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He went to a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproved approaches before having surgery in 2004.
Isaacson, quoting Jobs, writes in the book: "'I really didn't want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,' he told me years later with a hint of regret."
Jobs died on October 5, at age 56, after a battle with cancer.
The book also provides insight into the unravelling of Jobs's relationship with Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google and an Apple board member from 2006 to 2009. Schmidt had quit Apple's board as Google and Apple went head-to-head in smartphones, Apple with its iPhone and Google with its Android software.
Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the touch and other popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft".
"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $US40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google's internet-based word processing program. In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a cafe in Palo Alto, California, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn't interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says.
"I don't want your money. If you offer me $US5 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."
The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.
The book is clearly designed to evoke the Apple style. Its cover features the title and author's name starkly printed in black and grey type against a white background, along with a black-and-white photo of Jobs, thumb and forefinger to his chin.
The biography, for which Jobs granted more than three dozen interviews, is also a look into the thoughts of a man who was famously secret, guarding details of his life as he did Apple's products, and generating plenty of psychoanalysis from a distance.
Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO on August 24, six weeks before he died.
Doctors said on Thursday that it was not clear whether the delayed treatment made a difference in Jobs's chances of survival.
"People live with these cancers for far longer than nine months before they're even diagnosed," so it's not known how quickly one can prove fatal, said Dr Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
Dr Michael Pishvaian, a pancreatic cancer expert at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said people were often in denial after a cancer diagnosis, and some took a long time to accept recommended treatments.
"We've had many patients who have had bad outcomes when they have delayed treatment. Nine months is certainly a significant period of time to delay," he said.
Fortune magazine reported in 2008 that Jobs tried alternative treatments because he was suspicious of mainstream medicine.
The book says Jobs gave up Christianity at the age of 13 when he saw starving children on the cover of Lifemagazine. He asked whether his Sunday school pastor knew what would happen to them.
Jobs never went back to church, though he did study Zen Buddhism later.
Jobs calls the crop of executives brought in to run Apple after he was ousted in 1985 "corrupt people" with "corrupt values" who cared only about making money. Jobs himself is described as caring far more about product than profit.
He told Issacson they cared only about making money "for themselves mainly, and also for Apple - rather than making great products".
Jobs returned to the company in 1997. After that, he introduced the candy-coloured iMac computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, and turned Apple into the most valuable company in America by market value for a time.
The book says that, while some Apple board members were happy that Hewlett-Packard gave up trying to compete with Apple's iPad, Jobs did not think it was cause for celebration.
"Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands," Jobs told Isaacson. "But now it's being dismembered and destroyed."
"I hope I've left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple," he added.
Advance sales of the book have topped best-seller lists. Much of the biography adds to what was already known, or speculated, about Jobs. While Isaacson is not the first to tell Jobs's story, he had unprecedented access. Their last interview was weeks before Jobs died.
Jobs reveals in the book that he did not want to go to college, and the only school he applied to was Reed, a costly private college in Portland, Oregon.
Once accepted, his parents tried to talk him out of attending Reed, but he told them he wouldn't go to college if they didn't let him go there. Jobs wound up attending but dropped out after less than a year and never went back.
Jobs told Isaacson that he tried various diets, including one of fruits and vegetables. On the naming of Apple, he said he was "on one of my fruitarian diets". He said he had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not intimidating".
Jobs's eye for simple, clean design was evident early. The case of the Apple II computer had originally included a Plexiglas cover, metal straps and a roll-top door. Jobs, though, wanted something elegant that would make Apple stand out.
He told Isaacson he was struck by Cuisinart food processors while browsing at a department store and decided he wanted a case made of molded plastic.
He called Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, his "spiritual partner" at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had "more operation power" at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself - that there's no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, said Jobs, was "the way I set it up".
Jobs was never a typical CEO. Apple's first president, Mike Scott, was hired mainly to manage Jobs, then 22. One of his first projects, according to the book, was getting Jobs to bathe more often. It didn't work.
Jobs's dabbling in LSD and other aspects of 1960s counterculture has been well documented. In the book, Jobs says LSD "reinforced my sense of what was important - creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could".
He also revealed that the Beatles were one of his favourite bands, and one of his wishes was to get the band on iTunes, Apple's revolutionary online music store, before he died. The Beatles' music went on sale on iTunes late last year.
The book was originally called iSteve and was scheduled to come out in March. The release date was moved up to November, then, after Jobs's death, to Monday. It is published by Simon & Schuster and will sell for $US35.
Isaacson will appear on Sunday on 60 Minutes in the US. CBS News, which airs the program, released excerpts of the book on Thursday.

Steve Jobs regretted cancer surgery delay, biographer says

David Sarno
October 21, 2011 - 9:33AM

Steve Jobs ... regretted not having surgery earlier.
Steve Jobs ... regretted not having surgery earlier. Photo: Paul Sakuma
For months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2004, Steve Jobs decided to try to treat his illness with eastern-style remedies, rather than surgery. But delaying that surgery may have cost him his long-term health - and it was a decision he regretted.
This comes from Jobs's biographer, Walter Isaacson, who will appear in an interview this weekend on 60 Minutes in the US to discuss Jobs and his upcoming book, Steve Jobs.
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Walter Isaacson.
Walter Isaacson.
According to Isaacson, Jobs had a "very slow growing" type of pancreatic cancer "that can actually be cured", but still opted not to get the surgery until nine months had gone by and it may have been too late.
"I've asked him" why he didn't get the operation, Isaacson told Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes. "And he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened. … I didn't want to be violated in that way'. I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking. It'd work for him in the past. He'd regret it."
Soon, Isaacson says, Jobs's wife and everyone around him convinced him to "quit trying to treat it with all these roots and vegetables and things", he said. But by then it may have been too late, as the cancer had spread to surrounding tissues.
Isaacson is the only author to whom Jobs gave long-term access, and he conducted more than 40 interviews. The book is scheduled to come out next week.
LA Times

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