A very personal Google Android vs. Apple iPhone war just got some more personality

Tim Bray, who co-invented XML and is a well-known blogger, has joined Google's Android team and wasted no time taking on Apple's iPhone.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Tim Bray, who co-invented XML and is a well-known blogger, has joined Google's Android team and wasted no time taking on Apple's iPhone.

In a blog post (Techmeme), Bray, also a former Sun Microsystems employee, said he joined Google for Android and likes the rapid development and fact the mobile operating system is open source. He'll also enjoy duking it out with Apple. The money passage from Bray:

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet's future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It's a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord's pleasure and fear his anger.

I hate it.

I hate it even though the iPhone hardware and software are great, because freedom's not just another word for anything, nor is it an optional ingredient.

The big thing about the Web isn't the technology, it's that it's the first-ever platform without a vendor (credit for first pointing this out goes to Dave Winer). From that follows almost everything that matters, and it matters a lot now, to a huge number of people. It's the only kind of platform I want to help build.

Apple apparently thinks you can have the benefits of the Internet while at the same time controlling what programs can be run and what parts of the stack can be accessed and what developers can say to each other.

I think they're wrong and see this job as a chance to help prove it.

When I read that riff I couldn't get past the word hate. That word is so personal and something you don't hear in the business world all that much (at least on record). We all kind of knew there was some Google-Apple hatred brewing, but Bray cuts to the chase and the essence of what the feud is about.

Bray will bring something to Android that it doesn't necessarily have today-a personality. And a little personality will matter because as the New York Times detailed on Sunday the Apple vs. Google thing has become intensely personal. Apple is out for blood and Google isn't going to back down. Meanwhile, TechCrunch notes RJ Pittman, a product manager for Google, has just jumped ship to Apple.

For those of you that have been around for a while, the Apple iPhone vs. Google Android war looks a lot like the Microsoft-Apple battles decades ago. Apple went closed ecosystem and Microsoft went with the "we'll flood you with partners" approach. Nowadays, Google is playing up the Microsoft flood the zone approach with an open source twist.

The Times wrote:

According to interviews with two dozen industry watchers, Silicon Valley investors and current and former employees at both companies - most of whom requested anonymity to protect their jobs or business relationships - the clash between Mr. (Eric) Schmidt and Mr. (Steve) Jobs offers an unusually vivid display of enmity and ambition.

The story is quite a hoot. Even Silicon Valley veterans are shocked at how toxic the Google-Apple relationship has become.

And now given Apple's HTC lawsuit-clearly aimed at Google and Android-the battle lines are clearly drawn.

Bray brings a little spunk to the discussion. He's a developer advocate at Google and isn't going to mince words. A very personal battle just got someone to stoke the fire.

End note: Bray worked for Sun when it was acquired by Oracle. Oracle extended him an offer, but Bray declined. He said he'll tell the story "when I can think about it without getting that weird spiking-blood-pressure sensation in my eyeballs." Can't wait for that one. Related: Was Intel's x86 the "gateway drug" for Apple's ARM?