Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Pixel range may be neck-to-neck in the smartphone domination race today, but their respective founders were quite the pals once upon a time.
Or at least that’s what a couple of throwback photos shared by an ex-Googler seem to suggest. The grainy photos from 2007 show Larry Page – one half of the Google founder duo – and Late Steve Jobs – the founder of Apple Inc. Twitter user Jason Shellen, an ex-Google employee shared this extremely rare set of photos yesterday in response to a twitter thread on “celebrity encounters.” He worked on Blogger at Google in the early 2000s before serving as the “founding product manager” for Google Reader. The photos were covertly taken on a Palm Treo 680 as revealed by Shellen.
These pictures date back to August 2007 and has the then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in his iconic black turtleneck towering over Larry Page in a white tshirt at one of the cafes at the Google headquarters in Mountainview, California. Both seem to be serving themselves lunch at a salad bar. (As an aside, Google’s Mountainview has over 6 full-fledged cafes.)
The second picture shows the two of them, along with then Google CEO Eric Schmidt, sitting down and having a conversation. Jobs seems to be making a point, while Schmidt is attentively listening. Page’s back is to the camera. At the time, Schmidt was on the Apple board, a position from which he resigned in 2008 due to “personal conflict of interest” as announced by Steve Jobs himself in a company statement.
— Jason Shellen (@shellen) May 14, 2020
The photo would have been taken around the time the first-generation iPhone went on sale in June 2007. In January of that year, Schmidt was on stage at the unveiling of Apple’s first smartphone to talk about Google Maps and YouTube. Before Apple and Google got entwined in a turf battle over smartphone market share, the two companies bonded over the common enemy – Microsoft. The relationship notoriously soured after the launch of Android and the T-Mobile G1 over a year later. Today, the two Silicon Valley giants compete on various fronts, not the least of which is their respective smartphones, OS, and Maps ecosystem. They’ve sued each other numerous times in the past, and now compete bitterly in the smartphone market. Interestingly, Googlers around the world still get Macs to work on, making an Apple product still a significant part of the Google culture.
Curiously, these Apple-Google rendezvous aren’t a one-off. In 2010, Steve Jobs was publicly spotted having coffee with Eric Schmidt, before “moving to somewhere private”. History was repeated almost 10 years later when current Google CEO Sundar Pichai and current Apple CEO Tim Cook were spotted having dinner together in 2017.
There’s no love lost between Apple and Google now, but like they say, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.
Steve Jobs has been gone for almost a decade now, and the Google founders are infamously media shy, making only the odd appearance on special occasions. So these photos come as a refreshing, feel-good, if nostalgic visuals of what two of the greatest minds of the tech world look like together.