Both companies see themselves as becoming new kinds of content distribution engines—twenty-first-century TV networks, if you will. They won’t make content as the TV networks do today; but their control of huge global audiences, and their enormous balance sheets, will enable them to have a big impact on what gets made and who sees it.
One of the things that I didn’t expect when I took on this project was how hard it is to conceive and build the products that Steve Jobs liked to casually pull out of his pocket onstage. Whether you are an Apple engineer, a Google engineer, or any engineer, building products that change the world isn’t just work. It’s a quest.
What Verizon engineers liked was that Android was written with the future in mind. Most smartphone software—including the iPhone’s—was designed to require regular connections to a PC. But from the beginning, Android was written with the assumption that one day this would not be necessary—that everyone would use their smartphone as their primary Internet and computing device.
If owning an iPhone makes you feel part of a totalitarian state, that’s because the company that makes it is run by a despot.