In February 2012 John Gruber of Daring Fireball tore into Walter Isaacson who wrote Steve Jobs Biography. Gruber wrote that "Isaacson gives us the story of an asshole. But the world is full of assholes. What we need is the story of the one man who spearheaded so many remarkable products and who built an amazing and unique company." Gruber noted in his article that "Jobs tells Isaacson something that is true, but Isaacson doesn't believe it, and he then quotes someone else, like Bill Gates, saying something that is false to refute it, and Isaacson lets that remark stand as fact." The Apple community at large didn't like Isaacson's book and today we see Isaacson basically spit at the memory of the late Steve Jobs by stating that The greatest innovator in the world right now is Google—not Apple.
Isaacson told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday that "Google buying Nest Labs is a bigger development than Apple selling iPhones on China Mobile's network."
While acknowledging the China Mobile partnership is a "big deal" for Apple, he said Google-Nest exemplifies the "amazingly strong integrated strategy that Google has to connect all of our devices, all of our lives, from our car, to our navigation system, to how our garage doors are going to open."
The Nest portfolio of smart thermostats and fire detectors will be added to Google's gee-whiz tool shed of giant robots, self-driving cars and Google Glass.
Isaacson also pointed out that Nest co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell will be joining Google as part of this deal. "Fadell was one of the team that created the iPod. He was very deep into the Apple culture ... when Apple was so innovative."
To play catch-up, Cook has to think about what industry he wants to disrupt next, Isaacson said. "I think Steve Jobs would have wanted as the next disruptive thing to either have wearable-like watches or TV, an easy TV that you can walk into the room and say put on 'Squawk Box' … or disrupt the digital camera industry or disrupt textbooks." He concluded that "We ought to see in 2014, Apple do something huge."
Isaacson's latter comment in the context of Apple "playing catch-up" with Google innovation clearly demonstrates that Isaacson is enamoured by Google's futuristic toys that have yet to materialize. That's a little baffling considering that well respected techies that have actually tried Google's Glass believe that it's doomed to fail.
Yet in the end, it's clear that Apple and Google will be battling it out in the market for the foreseeable future. For now, Google is making headway with Android coming to all future non-Mac Intel based PC's in 2014. Intel first revealed their new dual OS Windows-Android platform during their CES keynote earlier this month. Beyond that, we'll have to see how 2014 actually rolls out to judge who's the real innovator for the year. Much of what Isaacson considered as innovation is nothing more than works-in-progress at Google. Apple on the other hand is a secretive company and we won't see Apple's great next-thing until it's introduced at a Special Event.
In the end, do you think that Google stands a chance of outgunning Apple on the innovation front this year? Send in your comments below.