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Steve Jobs thought iPhone antenna problem was 'Google smear'

The new biography of Steve Jobs reveals he blamed Google and Motorola for the iPhone antenna controversy.

A new biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and a 60 Minutes special are packed with Jobsian gems. The man who ran the biggest technology company in the world believed the iPhone antenna controversy was a smear campaign by Google and Motorola, while his special relationship with design genius Jony Ive was tested when he stole credit for products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Jobs was majorly miffed when the newly launched iPhone 4 was discovered to have a pretty major flaw. He believed the antennagate controversy was part of a smear campaign by rival phone makers. Jobs believed Google and Motorola were attempting to "shoot Apple down", and took the criticism personally.

Apple initially dismissed the problem and claimed other smart phones had the same problems -- it was only when his right-hand man and successor in the hot seat Tim Cook suggested that was kind of a Microsoft-y way to act that Jobs decided to change tack.

Apple investigated the problem and subsequently dished out free bumper cases to iPhone 4 owners.

Jobs felt the issue had been "blown so out of proportion that it's incredible", which suggests he didn't understand the price of the cult he had crafted around Apple. When Apple based its products and the company's entire image on a certain superiority, then any mistakes, no matter how small, appear to be either a let-down for fans or delicious hubris for critics.

Google's role in the controversy is not clear, but it seems Jobs believed that extreme tactics were called for in the struggle between the two companies. He vowed to wage 'thermonuclear war' on Google's Android.

Ive: "It hurts when Jobs takes credit for my designs"

British-born industrial designer Ive discusses his unique relationship with Jobs in interviews with the book's author Walter Isaacson. Locked in his private design studio, Ive was kept hidden from even senior Apple staff. But he would meet with Jobs constantly, the pair obsessing over the latest Apple products right down to the smallest part.

Thoughout the design process Ive says he pays "maniacal attention to where an idea comes from, and I even keep notebooks filled with my ideas. So it hurts when he (Jobs) takes credit for one of my designs."

Fair enough. Jobs, who died this month aged 56, may have had a single-minded vision for what technology could be, but he wasn't the man who actually made that technology work.

Hear some words of wisdom from Jobs and friends on US show 60 Minutes.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is on sale now, as an ebook or old-fashioned paper book thingy. To learn more about Tim Cook and Jony Ive, click to meet the people in charge of Apple now Jobs is no longer with us.