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Jobs, Googlers Spar Over ‘Evil’ Quip

Posted on Feb 1, 2010
Google sign
Flickr/Robert Scoble

Colorful yet evil?: Google’s past and present top brass denies Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ claims that Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra is “bullshit,” according to Valleywag.

Nothing like a good word war between übergeeks to stir things up: Apple CEO Steve Jobs made an incendiary jab this weekend at his counterparts over at Google, accusing them of going against their company mantra, “Don’t Be Evil.” The current and former bigwigs at Google weren’t going to take that lying down. But is this a case of competition bringing out the worst, or is there something, in fact, rotten in Google’s Silicon Valley kingdom? (Or, as one other potential option, is this a “pot, meet kettle” scenario?)  —KA


“I don’t know where people get the idea that competition is evil,” writes Paul Buchheit, the ex-Google who invented “Don’t Be Evil,” along with Gmail and FriendFeed. One current Googler says he plans to tack up Jobs’ “very motivational” quote beside his monitor; another says Jobs myopically “sees all competition as zero-sum.”

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By Howard Mandel, February 3, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
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Nobody thinks they’re evil, but we all make compromises to our values. The
question is do these compromises amount to evil. Google justified doing
business with the freedom-fearing chinese government by saying the good
we’re doing in bringing the billions of Chinese into the internet outweighs the
evil we do by engaging in censorship on behalf of the Chinese government.

We all know that’s hooey. The Chinese are perfectly capable of getting on the
internet without their help. The fact is, if they made a worldwide stand about
not cooperating the the Chinese government a significant amount of pressure
who eventually push the government to do open up a little. That has been the
history of openness in China. Google is doing evil by allowing the Chinese
government to forestall full openness and then again by lying about their
intentions. The scale of this evil is so enormous that it has permanently
destroyed my faith in Google.

Money is the only motivation Google has for doing anything and their motto is
a cruel joke. I liken it to “Fair and Balanced” in its ludicrousness.

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