For all the talk about Steve Jobs's genius as a product designer and marketer, it's easy to forget how incredibly competitive -- and petulant -- the Apple CEO can be.
Those traits were on full display during Monday's post-earnings conference call, when Jobs dropped in unexpectedly. It was his first appearance at a quarterly earnings concall in two years, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rather than bask in the glory of a quarterly revenue record, or the near-doubling in sales of the iPhone, or the success of the iPad tablet -- whose sales fell short of analysts' estimates, but still was one of the biggest consumer electronics hits of the year -- Jobs instead talked trash about Apple's competitors.
On Research in Motion (maker of the BlackBerry smartphone):
"We've now passed RIM, and I don't seem them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company."
(True, which is why it might make sense for Microsoft to purchase RIM.)
"I think it's going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform after iOS and Android."
This was the perfect opportunity for someone to blurt out, "Well, what about Google?" Which someone did, that someone being Jobs. The Apple CEO answered his impromptu question with, as Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt describes it, "a five-minute prepared statement that by the Q&A had turned into a rant."
"Last week, Eric Schmidt reiterated that they are activating 200,000 Android devices per day. And have around 90,000 apps in their App Store. For comparison, Apple has activated around 275,000 iOS devices per day on average for the past 30 days with a peak of almost 300,000 iOS devices per day on a few of those days. And Apple has 300,000 apps on its App Store."
And in case you hadn't noticed, 275,000 per day is more than 200,000! In your face, Schmeric!
Jobs continues into a long explanation of why Android is so utterly confusing to users and developers alike -- too many choices, too fragmented, too many apps stores -- that it can't possibly compete with the iPhone (despite what recent market data shows).
Then there are tablets. Don't even get Steve Jobs started on tablets!
"I'd like to comment on the avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market in the coming months. First, it appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not exactly an avalanche. Second, almost all of them use seven-inch screens as compared to iPad's near 10-inch screen."
Got it? It's not an avalanche, OK? Further, it's a "not an avalanche" of puny little screens, which I can demonstrate with several mathematical formulas are even smaller than they appear. It's also worth noting that users of these tiny, frail tablets will be required to sandpaper their fingertips. It's right in the purchase agreements.
(Here's a transcript of the call, from Seeking Alpha. It's a fascinating read.)