Jobs had Google phones in crosshairs: biographer

Insights into Apple co-founder Steve Jobs's vendetta against Google and his criticisms of fellow high-tech titans spread quickly online ahead of the Monday release of his authorized biography.

Excerpts of the book, "", went viral -- especially his reported vow to annihilate Google-backed Android software for smartphones and tablets that he felt had ripped off and iPad ideas.

"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product," Jobs's biographer quoted him as saying early last year.

"I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this," he said. "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."

Biographer Walter Isaacson's work also contains an unflattering assessment of , co-founder of US computer software colossus Microsoft that for decades served as the Goliath to Apple's David.

"He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger," said Jobs, who went to India on a spiritual journey after dropping out of college in the 1970s.

"Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology," he added. "He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas."

Reactions to the excerpts in online chat forums included comment that while Jobs changed the world with iPods, iPhones, and iPads, they were improvements on , smartphones and tablets that had come before them.

Jobs also had blunt words for , chief of the eponymous based in Texas.

The biography tells of Dell saying in 1997 that if he were Jobs, he would shut down then-struggling Apple and "give the money back to shareholders."

Jobs told of responding to Dell with an email message that read: "CEOs are supposed to have class...I can see that isn't an opinion you hold."

Jobs returned to the Apple helm in 1996 and steered it to new heights -- it is now among the world's most valuable companies.

A new generation "iPhone 5" is believed to be the last Apple innovation that Jobs worked on at the Cupertino, California-based company.

In the biography, Jobs praised Apple senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan "Jony" Ive as being his partner in dreaming up devices.

"If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it's Jony," Jobs is quoted as saying. "Jony and I think up most of the products together and then pull others in and say, 'Hey, what do you think about this?'"

Jobs also spoke of his faith in Tim Cook, who took over the Apple helm shortly before Jobs's death on October 5 at the age of 56.

Jobs refused early surgery for the pancreatic cancer that eventually took his life, experimenting instead with alternative treatments, according to his biographer.

Isaacson, in an interview with the CBS show "60 Minutes" to be broadcast Sunday, said Jobs told him he regretted the decision to put off the operation.

The book also includes details of the private and romantic life of the notoriously secretive Jobs, as well as his business dealings.

Jobs reportedly joked to Isaacson that he had to hide the kitchen knives from his liberal wife when they had Rupert Murdoch, the conservative chief executive of News Corp., over for dinner at their home.

Jobs liked Murdoch but not his Fox News organization known for promoting conservative political agendas, according to the biography.

Jobs reportedly told Murdoch that the US was divided and that the News Corp. king was siding with the "destructive" side.

In Jobs's own words, Microsoft was "mostly irrelevant" and unlikely to change as long as Steve Ballmer was chief executive.

According to the book, Jobs began meeting in the spring with people he wanted to see before he died. They included Gates, who visited Jobs's home in May for more than three hours.

Book snippets included Jobs warning US President Barack Obama last year that he was "headed for a one-term presidency" and offering to help create political ads for the 2012 campaign.

A chapter of the biography devoted to Jobs's love of music includes him being a fan of the guitar talents of John Mayer but expressing concern that the singer was "out of control" in a potentially self-destructive way.

Isaacson's 656-page book is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Isaacson, chief executive of the Aspen Institute think-tank, has also penned biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger.

(c) 2011 AFP

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