Johny Ive on Xiomi


“Its theft and its lazy, if you ask me.” — Johny Ive

This was the statement that Johny Ive when asked about Xiomi. There has been considerable discussion online about how the MIUI layout and design is very similar to iOS. And this is making Johny nervous and irritable. But is this the mature way of handling it? Isnt everything like that?

A person or a company typically invents (or produces) a concept or a product after a lot of hard work, and then it becomes a success. Then there are others who try and ‘copy’ or ’emulate’ if you will, to see the copied version can become a success too. There are times, when it does, and times when it does not.

Famously,┬áSteve Jobs (once Ive’s employer) quoted the great artist Pablo PIcasso:

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

If you read Steve’s biography and listen to some early tapes of his, you would see why he said that. His escapades around ‘stealing’ ideas from Bill Gates or more famously from Xerox PARC. Did the world cry fowl then? No. The capitalist philosophy is that, it does not matter if someone invented it. If someone can turn what was invented into what can make money, then that is success. A small town inventor who invented a great way to pump water from a borewell is considered a success in his neighbourhood. Someone who gets inspired by it, and makes it a production product and sells it to a hundred thousand farmers across India, becomes a resounding success.

See, Ive should understand that, just because you put in years of hard work into creating something very nice (and I agree, design wise, apple is probably way higher than any other company) does not mean that he can cloak it and keep it in his safe forever. It is a public product. This is a free world. He should probably feel proud that, there is another product which is considering his design as a role model and emulating it.

On a side note, Apple should probably feel good that, a company is atleast releasing this as something different (and is inspired by iOS) and not creating a fake iPhone and cheating others. By the way, that also happens. Come to India and see. You will hear talk about real iPhone vs Chine make iPhone.

And lastly, going by the track record of Apple, there will always be a fan-boy-club for Apple, who will always buy only Apple, even if they can get something that looks and feels exactly like Apple for half the price. So Apple, why do you worry? Or are you noticing the fan-boy-club dwinding? The numbers do not seem to say so.

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