According to the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, when you became CEO you went to Jobs for advice. I know you had your differences at the end around Android, but what did you take from him as a mentor and a friend?
I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn't say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: "Hey, you want to get together and chat?" I said, "Sure, I'll come over." And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally.
He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.
Wait, the fury around Android was for show?
I think that served their interests. For a lot of companies, it's useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it's better to shoot higher. You don't want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what's possible and how to make the world better.
Page's view certainly does not mesh with what Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft".
"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
Steve Jobs also told Eric Schmidt that he was not interested in settling. "I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want."
Jobs' anger doesn't seem like a show to us.