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Google's Android chief fires back at Apple's Steve Jobs

October 19, 2010 | 11:38 am

Google's Andy Rubin, the engineer behind the Internet giant's mobile strategy, is an understated guy. So understated, in fact, that he had yet to post on Twitter.

That changed Monday night after Apple CEO Steve Jobs took issue with Google's mobile device operating system Android, which competes with Apple’s software for the iPhone.

Jobs, who made the remarks during Apple's third-quarter earnings call with analysts (remarks that one blog called "Steve Jobs' epic five-minute anti-Google rant"), said Android could cause problems for customers and for application developers because they have to deal with so many different versions of the open-source software. Google gives the software away for free to handset makers. Jobs also took issue with Google's contention that Apple's operating system is "closed."

So Rubin defended Android in a tweet that only an engineer could write: "the definition of open: 'mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make'."

Er, say that again?

Techies out there say that's a list of commands to create a copy of Android on a computer running the Linux operating system, basically underscoring the point that anyone can create their own version of Android and implying that the same cannot be said of Apple.

That created quite a stir in Silicon Valley.

In making his argument, Jobs pointed to the example of TweetDeck, a program that people use to access Twitter, to say that developers had problems with more than 100 different versions of the Android software on 244 different handsets.

Not so, retorted TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth on, where else, Twitter.

"Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn't. It wasn't."

He added: "We only have 2 guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is."

Will the war of 140 characters rage on?

Follow them to find out.

-- Jessica Guynn

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