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Dogfight

How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

By Fred Vogelstein
16-minute read
Audio available
Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

Dogfight (2013) recounts the tale of how a once amicable business partnership between tech giants Apple and Google turned into a bitter rivalry as the companies fought for control of the mobile internet device market.

  • Business students and technology aficionados
  • Prospective smartphone buyers trying to decide between Apple and Google
  • People curious about the rivalry between Apple and Google

Fred Vogelstein is a journalist and former staff writer for Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. He is also a contributing editor at Wired magazine. Dogfight is his first book.

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Dogfight

How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

By Fred Vogelstein
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein
Synopsis

Dogfight (2013) recounts the tale of how a once amicable business partnership between tech giants Apple and Google turned into a bitter rivalry as the companies fought for control of the mobile internet device market.

Key idea 1 of 10

Steve Jobs was reluctant to develop a phone, choosing to focus instead on the iPod and iTunes.

In 2001, the technology market was wowed with the introduction of Apple’s iPod. Yet the device had only one function: playing music.

Meanwhile, Apple executives had been dreaming for some time of creating an Apple phone, but Steve Jobs didn’t share their dreams.

He didn’t want to waste money and effort developing a phone that would only end up being meddled with by the large phone carriers, such as T-Mobile or AT&T. At the time, companies that manufactured phones depended on carriers not just for marketing but also for subsidizing a phone’s purchase price; thus carriers had a big say in the development of any phone technology.

True to character, Jobs didn’t accept this situation, as he wanted Apple to have full control over any phone it developed.

Apple instead focused its efforts on the iTunes Store, a service that offered music and videos for download. It launched in April 2003 for Mac and iPod users, as only Apple hardware had the software required to run iTunes.

Yet competition in the market was growing. Other phone manufacturers were equipping phones with music apps that allowed users to download music from Amazon or Yahoo, for example. People no longer needed a phone and a separate MP3 player – they could have both on a single device.

Instead of developing a phone that was compatible with iTunes, however, Apple partnered with technology company Motorola to launch a music phone called Rokr.

It seemed the perfect fit: Motorola would develop the hardware, negotiate with phone carrier AT&T and then pay Apple a licensing fee to run iTunes on the device.

Rokr was a flop, however. The device was chunky and could only store 100 songs. It could run iTunes but didn’t allow a user to download music from the internet directly.

Yet this setback wasn’t of huge concern to Apple. In 2004, iPod sales began to soar, and at the same time, Jobs started to think again about an Apple phone.

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