Dogfight, Fred Vogelstein - Book Summary

Dogfight tells the story of the conflict between Apple and Google, two giants in the technology village that once had a very good business relationship, to compete for control of the mobile network service market.

This book is suitable for

  • People who love and study business and technology;
  • Those who are deciding between buying a smartphone from Apple or Google;
  • Those who are curious about the competition between Apple and Google.

A few lines about the author

Fred Vogelstein is a journalist and writer for Fortune and The Wall. At the same time, he also contributed as an editor for Wired magazine. The war between two giants is his first work.

Chapter 1. The book's greatest value: The reason behind the technology war between Apple and Google.

On one side is Apple, the founder of the iPhone with the iOS operating system, and the owner of a series of innovative inventions that are patented and guaranteed by many lawyers.

On one side is Google, a leading search engine and the "father" of the Android operating system and allied with many other phone manufacturers.

From a good relationship, these two "big guys" became enemies competing for the potential smartphone market. This brief dives into how Apple and Google became rivals, a process filled with conflicts, technological secrets, and hidden deals.

This summary will show you

  • How Steve Jobs was fooled by the people he considered friends at Google
  • Similarities Between Monster, Glass and Apple
  • How many lawyers does it take to take down a phone maker?

Chapter 2. Steve Jobs was reluctant to make phones, when what he really wanted was to focus on iPod and iTunes.

In 2001, the whole technology world had to admire the launch of the iPod. However, this product only has a function of listening to music. While Apple executives dreamed of a phone made by the company itself, Steve Jobs was less enthusiastic about this desire.

He didn't want to waste time and effort on a phone dominated by big carriers like T-mobile or AT&T. At that time, phone companies had to rely on carriers not only for advertising purposes but also for purchase subsidies. Therefore, mobile carriers had a very important voice in the phone manufacturing technology industry at that time. However, Jobs wanted Apple to have full rights to any phone it made.

Instead of phones, Apple focused on developing the iTunes Store, a service that allows downloading music and videos. It went live in April 2003 for Mac and iPod users, and only Apple's hard drives had software for using iTunes.

However, competition in the market is increasingly fierce as many phone companies have music apps that allow users to download music from Amazon and Yahoo without having to have a separate music player.

Instead of making a phone compatible with iTunes, Apple teamed up with technology company Motorala to create a line of music phones called the Rokr. This seemed like a perfect partnership: Motorola would manufacture the hard drive, then negotiate with AT&T and pay a licensing fee to let Apple run iTunes in the phone. In the end, though, Rokr was a huge failure. The phone's memory is limited to about 100 songs. Besides, users can only use iTunes but cannot download music directly on the internet.

However, this failure did not affect Apple too much. In 2004, sales of the iPod started to skyrocket, and at the same time, Jobs started thinking about Apple's own phone line.

Chapter 3. Apple wants to create a phone with functions that users have never seen before.

In late 2004, Jobs became excited about the idea of ​​the Apple phone. He knew that the phone's internet connection was fast enough to surf the web or even watch live video.

Cingular, a mobile carrier about to be acquired by AT&T, promised to give all product development rights if Apple were to make cell phones. So Apple decided to proceed with the production of phones with the ambition to create functions that were never there before. For example, they want to pioneer a multi-touch screen, a screen that allows users to use two fingers to move. Nowadays, it is all too common to shrink or enlarge images on smartphone screens. But in 2005, phone chips were unable to operate graphing software that could "read" the simultaneous movements of two fingers.

Because of this big ambition, Apple's first phone was huge. Nearly three years later, the Apple development team was able to shrink the technology department so that it fits a regular-sized phone. Besides, the company also found a way to produce scratch-resistant screens. At first, technologists wondered between the Plexi glass screen that didn't break when dropped but scratched easily and the regular screen that didn't scratch but broke when dropped from a height of 1 meter.

Jobs learned a valuable lesson when he met glass maker Corning and learned about tempered glass, the hardest glass in the world. Initially tempered glass was made to withstand bombs on the battlefield, realizing this was what he was looking for, Jobs convinced Corning to manufacture it for Apple.

With a screen made of tempered glass, iPhone passes all durability tests. Besides the screen not getting scratched when shaken vigorously in a bag full of coins, it was even unharmed when dropped on the concrete floor.

While we consider inventions such as magnifying screens or multi-touch as commonplace, at the time it was a huge innovation.

Chapter 4. Steve Jobs always strives to keep the iPhone development process as secure as possible.

Imagine one day you go to work and discover half of the office or even the entire hallway is locked so that no one can enter. While this is pretty ridiculous, this is exactly what happened during Apple's development of the iPhone.

Jobs did not want any information about the iPhone exposed. For more than a week, only employees on the iPhone development team were allowed to enter certain areas. Some buildings are even split in half.

Most importantly, members of the iPhone development team must keep their work completely confidential. Although they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), it didn't seem to be enough for Jobs. Some people even have to sign another contract to confirm that they signed the other NDA! Anyone caught discussing the project with someone else will be fired immediately.

Even iPhone development teams are not allowed to share information about their work with each other. For example, electrical engineers must work separately from software people. In fact, when the software team needed a test run, they also had to use a mockup instead of the actual phone the electrical engineer was developing!

The companies that supply components for the iPhone are also a mystery. Marvell Electronics is the company that supplies the Wi-Fi chips for the iPhone, but they even think Apple bought them to use for the iPod. To keep it a secret from Marvell, Jobs even showed them a fake diagram of the iPod project!

“Steve likes to divide things up like this. But for people who don't know anything, it's really annoying.”

Andy Grignon, senior director of Apple

Chapter 5. Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall, two talented Apple employees, competed for the right to run the iPhone phone project.

Scott Forstall has been a brilliant software engineer with Apple since 1992. Despite his successes, Steve Jobs still excluded him from his list of favorite developers.

Imagine how Forstall must have felt when Tony Fadell, a newly arrived engineer, quickly won Jobs' love and became the lead engineer on the iPhone project. Fadell led the iPod development team, and by the end of 2006, iPod sales accounted for 40% of Apple's total revenue.

Forstall, however, has a different vision for the iPhone. He went to Jobs and suggested that the company develop a thinner version of the OS X operating system for Apple's Mac computers. The idea was approved and Forstall took over the project, although Jobs himself didn't know if it was possible. At the same time, the phone chip at that time was not powerful enough to run OS X, so the operating system was forced to be reduced by several hundred megabytes. But Forstall solved this problem. As a result, the competition between Forstall and Fadell became increasingly fierce, they competed in every way during the next 2 years. As Forstall's team got better, for example, Jobs would allow them to take away Fadell's best engineers. At the same time, Fadell's iPhone development team wasn't even aware of Forstall's project.

Insiders say their rivalry was in part encouraged by Jobs' actions. Jobs' affection always changed quickly between the two teams, which made the competition more and more fierce.

Chapter 6. While collaborating with Apple on the development of the iPhone, Google also tacitly launched a phone project of its own.

In 2007, very few people thought that Apple and Google, the two "giant" in the technology industry, were competitors. Google makes money from the search engine, while Apple's revenue comes from technology products. Instead, each relationship between them is very harmonious. Jobs was friends with many divisional directors at Google, and there were also core Apple employees who were advisors to Google. Furthermore, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google is a member of Apple's board of directors.

Even Google is Apple's partner in the iPhone project. Jobs liked to install some Google software like Youtube or Google Maps in his phone. Therefore, Google also established a separate team to implement these collaborative projects.

But at the same time Google was also developing its own phone project. In July 2005, Google acquired the Android company and put its co-founder, Andrew Rubin, in charge of the project. Rubin secretly researched the Android operating system for phones. Besides, only a few senior executives at Google know that they are working with manufacturer HTC to launch a new phone line.

The first Google phone that resembled the Black Berry was named the Sooner. However, this product was not well received, the biggest reason is that its quality is far behind the iPhone launched in 2007. With its multi-touch screen and superior design, the iPhone completely beat the Sooner. by Google.

The Android development team immediately ditched the Sooner and focused on a product called Dream. This new project even has functions that are not available on iPhone such as 3G network connection or copy-paste.

“Until now, Android is still like Google's mistress, pampered with care and gifts but always hiding her face.”

Chapter 7. Despite the technical problems, Apple was still able to bring the iPhone to market on time.

Although Jobs' iPhone presentation at MacWorld on January 9, 2007 was perfect, the engineering team was extremely nervous throughout the day. They know that it will be a long time before the iPhone is ready for users. For example, if you open too many programs at once, the computer will run out of memory and freeze.

Jobs secretly used multiple iPhones during the presentation. Every time one froze, he immediately switched to another. Although Jobs was able to hide this glitch during his presentation, the next challenge was for the company, as the iPhone was expected to be released on June 29.

Jobs' team needed to solve a lot of problems. The phone keyboard does not work, when pressing a character, many characters will appear at the same time. Moreover, the technicians also did not find a way to attach the multi-touch element to the tempered screen. Besides, they also have problems with the micro antenna because the supplier cannot mass produce it and the shipping process is not reliable.

Despite those challenges, the iPhone entered the market on time. The international media considered the June 29 launch a historic event, and iPhone news was on the front page of the press for several weeks in a row. History has recorded Apple lovers rushing to buy iPhone as if it were a rare treasure!

In the first 2 days, Apple sold 270,000 iPhones, and this number increased to 3.4 million in the next 6 months.

Chapter 8. Jobs felt betrayed when Google made public the size of the Android project and displayed a distinctly competitive attitude.

Despite being warned by friends about Google's secret project, Jobs did not care much. On November 5, 2007, Andrew Rubin held a press conference announcing his plans to develop the Android operating system and the creation of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). This is a partnership between 34 phone manufacturers, software developers and carriers like T-Mobile, Ebay, Intel and Sony.

Jobs didn't like this at all. The Android operating system is open source, so any phone can use it. So when it goes live, it will be in direct competition with Apple's iOS.

The goal of the OHA alliance is to develop an open operating system for all devices, without the need for a company to produce proprietary software like Apple's iOS. Google also relies on this goal to develop Android devices, and the company can also benefit from it.

The following week, Google released a video showing co-founder Sergey Brin and Android's chief technical officer Steve Horowitz using different phones. In particular, Android phones have functions that iPhones do not have such as "street view".

Jobs saw that this was a direct attack on the iPhone, so he questioned the leaders of Google. They initially reassured Jobs that the phone in the video was just a demo to test the Android operating system, not an official smartphone model. Because he considered those leaders as friends, Jobs blindly trusted them.

However, in mid-2008 Jobs realized that Google was planning a new phone project with features similar to the iPhone. He threatened to sue Google if it released smartphones with multi-touch screens, a feature that Apple had patented.

The two sides had a lengthy meeting. Google accepted Jobs' request to keep some features secret from Google, but not for long.

Chapter 9. Apple responded to Google's use of multi-touch screens with an uphill legal battle.

When the first Android phone failed, a better model immediately went into production. Google embarked on multi-touch screen development, ignoring Steve Jobs' legal threats.

In late 2008, Google joined hands with Motorola and Verizon to develop a second line of Android devices called Droid. After its release in October 2009, Google advertised it with special features that the iPhone did not have, such as the ability to run multiple applications at the same time. In the first 3 months, sales of this phone even surpassed the iPhone!

In January 2010, Google released a software update that enabled multi-touch screen launch on the Droid. At the same time, Google released a second phone with a multi-touch screen called the Nexus One.

Immediately, Apple filed a lawsuit against Google for alleged patent infringement. This is also the starting point for a lengthy legal battle between the two sides.

Although he wanted to sue Google directly, Jobs knew he should take the manufacturers to court for feature duplication. Finally, Google does not directly manufacture phones and gives free Android operating system rights to any model.

Jobs first sued HTC, the Chinese maker of Nexus phones. But because the Android operating system was applicable to other devices as well, Jobs filed patent lawsuits in most industrialized countries. By 2012, Apple had 50 lawsuits pending in at least 10 countries just against Samsung, the largest distributor of Android phones. Apple also hired 300 lawyers from 50 law firms with the aim of isolating Samsung.

That summer, Apple won $1 million from a legal battle against Samsung. Besides protecting the copyright for special features of the iPhone, Apple also wants to overwhelm its biggest competitor in the technology market.

Chapter 10. Legal battles with Google have tarnished Apple's image, but they haven't given up on that competitive path.

Steve Jobs criticized Google whenever possible between 2008 and his death on October 5, 2011. In response, Google released new products to beat Apple.

In 2008, Google released a new application called Google Voice, thereby expanding the reach of the company's phone line. This application allows users to make free online voicemail calls, which combine phone numbers and email into a personal code. If someone calls you through Google Voice, your phone vibrates and that voice message is sent straight to your inbox. Using this app means that even if a user calls an iPhone, their personal information will still be transferred to Google's channel.

This application will affect Apple directly. So they turned down Google's offer to bring the app to the iPhone. But this action has damaged Apple's image, because they have taken away the right to use a popular and useful application from users.

After a while, the media began to portray Jobs as a leader with a capricious, mercurial personality, and users were tired of the endless struggles of Apple and Google. Even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) got involved, they said that Apple intentionally violated FCC regulations by not allowing Google to run apps on iPhone.

In the end, Jobs gave in and allowed Google Voice to appear on Apple's app store. However, Apple responded by attacking Google's unique position in the field of mobile advertising and creating an application to replace Google Maps.

In 2010, Apple launched an advertising platform and named it "iAd". In just 3 years, the application has brought the company up to 200 million dollars. In 2012, Apple released an alternative to Google Maps and combined it with the software in the iPhone 5. But Apple Map completely failed because it not only gave the wrong directions to the user, but also misplaced the user's location. famous Washington monument.

However, this is not the end of the conflict between Apple and Google, a battle that is expected to last for many more years.


Google and Apple used to have a very good working relationship. However, as phone manufacturing became a potential market, they became direct competitors for a monopoly position, eventually leading to questions in the courts. During that process, users experienced the tremendous growth of iPhone and Android phones.