By now everyone is aware of the less than cordial relationship between Apple and Google. Steve Jobs himself was known to say some less than kind things about Google’s Android operating system and liked to throw around the term “copycat” quite a bit when referring to Android. The same could be said for the relationship between Apple and Samsung. Considering Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of Android phones this makes perfect sense. These two companies have maintained a fairly regular routine of trading insults back and forth. To see this, one would have to look no further than Samsung’s recent ad campaign in which they mock Apple for finally getting caught up with them in terms of the screen size of their devices. Now, Apple seems to have aimed its disdain toward a new target, namely Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi.
Xiaomi is China’s largest smartphone manufacturer and the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. The company has made a name for itself due to the rather industrial looking appearance of its devices and some even call it “China’s Apple”. While appearing at a tech conference this week hosted by Vanity Fair, Apple’s chief of design Jony Ive was asked what his feelings were about Xiaomi and how some people believe the Chinese manufacturer copied Apple’s design decisions. According to Ive, imitation is not flattery when it comes to the smartphone business. He said “When you’re doing something for the first time, you don’t know it’s gonna work, you spend 7 or 8 years working on something, and then it’s copied. I think it is really straightforward. It is theft and it is lazy.”
The president and co-founder of Xiaomi, Lin Bin, responded to Ive’s criticisms rather cheekily by offering to send Ive one of Xiaomi’s smarthphones free of charge. There has been no word if Ive will take Bin up on his offer but one would assume that it’s not likely to happen. Considering that Apple really isn’t thought to be the innovator it once was and that Android has the lion’s share of the global smartphone market you can understand why those in the company would feel some bitterness toward their rivals. As far as who won the first round of Apple vs. Xiaomi you have to give it to the Chinese company because, hey, at least they have a sense of humor.