The backbiting true story of the smartphone wars, as told from the point of view of the guys in the trenches.
The shadow of fellow Wired alum Steven Levy looms large over this new history by contributing editor Vogelstein, but in his debut nonfiction account of the spectacular meltdown between Apple and Google, the author takes a refreshingly different approach. Where Levy is always one of few journalists trusted with a new device before launch, much of Vogelstein’s account comes not from the storied minds of Steve Jobs, Larry Page or Sergey Brin, but from the engineers, fixers and financiers who put their careers on the line in the name of those individual visions. Rather than tracking the entire history of Apple like Walter Isaacson, Vogelstein opens with the second revolution, “The Moon Mission,” with Apple’s engineers sweating through one of Jobs’ famous live demonstrations of the iPhone. Most people outside the industry won’t remember that Apple and Google were actually in partnership for many years. Vogelstein painfully recalls the betrayal that Jobs felt when Google began moving into the sector and Jobs’ vehement reaction: “Apple did not enter the search business. So why did Google enter the phone business? Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them. Their Don’t Be Evil mantra? It’s bullshit.” This unhealthy competition makes for juicy reading, to be sure, but the author makes some very salient points about a post-tablet world and the future of the media. “It’s not just that two of the biggest, most influential corporations in their worlds—Apple and Google—are fighting each other to the death,” he writes. “It’s that the mobile revolution they set off has suddenly put nearly $1 trillion in revenue from half a dozen industries up for grabs.”
Old-school journalism that has plenty to say about the new media and how we absorb information today.