The Google boys wanted to show off their number theory chops. Steve Jobs needed to win.
Perhaps if it had been Google (GOOG) that was getting hauled into court for patent violations it would have fought harder to win this week's auction for the rich portfolio of intellectual property bequeathed by the bankrupt Nortel Corp.
But it was Google's Android partners -- the HTCs, Motorolas and Samsungs of the world -- that were getting sued for making smartphones that look and feel suspiciously like the iPhone.
And when bidding for the patents that would have bought Android some legal protection got serious, Google started playing games.
Quoting "three people with direct knowledge of the situation," Reuters reported late Friday that Google was making bids that were literally irrational -- using numbers like Brun's constant (1.902160540...), the Meissel-Mertens constant (0.2614972128...) and, when they got permission to go past the $3 billion limit, pi (3.14159...).
"Google was bidding with numbers that were not even numbers," one of Reuters' sources said.
What we have here folks is a good old fashioned geek war.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs spent about five minutes of yesterday's earnings call (embedded below) berating Google's Android Model and its "disingenuous" "smokescreen" while touting Apple's "integrated, vertical" model where Apple controls most of the hardware and software stack.
Hoping to appeal to software developers, Google's (GOOG) Android VP Andy Rubin last night opened a Twitter account and Tweeted a rebuttal to Jobs' comments:
the definition of open: "mkdir MORESeth Weintraub - Oct 19, 2010 9:26 AM ET
|4 federal agencies to shut Friday|
|Wall Street tries to buck global sell-off|
|Wall Street braces for China and Fed fallout|
|Japan plunge spooks global markets|
|Jobless claims fall, pointing to better May|