Apple’s Jobs: Any Tablet That Dares Compete With the iPad is “Dead”

During his company’s earnings call last night, Apple, Inc.’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs let slip an interesting tidbit of information.  He believes that the iPhone, for the first time, has passed Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, in sales.  Mr. Jobs showed little interest in playing the role of a gracious winner.  He rubs the victory in RIM’s face, stating, “[I don’t] see them catching up in the foreseeable future.”

Perhaps that was fair given RIM’s recent struggles — or perhaps less than fair, given its longer-term pattern of success.  Mr. Jobs was far from done, though. 

He went on to once again accuse analysts of lying about claims that Google had passed the iPhone in sales.  He asserts that 275,000 “iOS devices” are activated a day, compared to only 250,000 Android devices.  If Mr. Jobs wanted to convince the public that Apple is beating Android in the phone market, though, he wasn’t exactly doing a terrific job, given that iPad 3G activations also count as a “iOS device”.

Surprisingly Mr. Jobs did admit that Google passed the iPhone in sales for one month — June.  He blames this, though on the “transition” to the iPhone 4, which he is fond of labeling as “magical”.  The iPhone 4, Apple’s problems-plagued handset well known for its defective antenna, did show a bit of “magic”, taking analysts by surprise and selling 14 million units last quarter, despite its flaws.

He says that the Android’s multiple OS version on the market and multiple hardware partners make it uncompetitive.  He comments, “We believe integrated will trump fragmented every time*.” (* “Every time” except June, that is…)

And he says that his competitors’ tablets are doomed.  He said any device hoping to compete with the iPad will essentially be “DOA” (dead on arrival).  And as to the 7-inch Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak, which are flooding the market, he says that they are “useless” for customers, commenting, “This size is useless unless you include sandpaper so users can sand their fingers down to a quarter of their size.”

Apple’s own tablet, the iPad, interestingly, was the weakest part of the company’s earnings report falling short of analyst predictions and only moving 4.19 million units.  Apple, though claims that this is due to supply issues.  It claims that Apple is selling every unit it can produce.

Apple executives in the earnings call failed to explain discrepancies between this statement with past reports that Apple was producing up to 2.3 million units a month (and thus should have had 6.9 million available units for the quarter).

Mr. Jobs remains bullish on his company’s tablet.  Rather than focus on that it fell short of analyst expectations, he instead focused on that it had passed the Macintosh (“Mac”) computer lineup in sales.  He says that when it comes to cannibalization of the computer sales by the iPad, “It’s not if, it’s when.”

Andy Rubin, Google’s Android took issue with the rhetoric from his fruity foe.  Live on Twitter, he microblogged last night:

the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git:// ; repo sync ; make”

So is Android too fragmented to succeed?  Are analysts lying about Google passing Android in smart phone sales?  And are Google’s 7-inch tablets “doomed”?  Mr. Jobs seems to think so.

Then again he might be wise to remember that old quote by philosopher George Satayana, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

After all, Mr. Jobs might recall that two and a half decades ago his company was on top of the personal computer market and trying to hold off a “fragmented” competitor — Microsoft.  And by that same token, some analysts just a year ago were dismissing that an Apple tablet would be “useless” consumers — the same kind of rhetoric Mr. Jobs is now directing against his competitors.