Danny Sullivan on Google and Copying

Good piece by Danny Sullivan defending Google. But:

Gruber tells us that the Android UI was copied from Apple. Hall says that the idea of a touchscreen smartphone was copied by the iPhone.

Newsflash. As a Windows Mobile user from 2004, I had a touchscreen smartphone that ran apps long before that idea ever punched itself out of Apple. My phone did things that Apple later copied, too, such as the innovative copy-and-paste feature. It was magical.

As a reminder, here’s what Android phones looked like before and after the introduction of the iPhone. Yes, it really did evolve to resemble Windows Mobile circa 2004.

There’s an argument to be made that copying good ideas is not wrong, that copying is how progress is made. That everything is a remix. But you can’t seriously argue that Google doesn’t copy. And I’d say they copy more ideas from others than others copy original ideas from Google. You don’t see many clones of Google Wave.

My recent complaints about Google haven’t really been about copying, in and of itself, though. It’s about Google’s whining and hypocrisy when competitors fight back.

Monday, 8 August 2011