Yesterday, as part of a wider interview with Larry Page, Bloomberg quoted Google’s CEO as saying:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally….I think that [Anger at Android] served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.

However, Page likely was not present for the behind-the-scenes remarks from the former Apple CEO. Jobs probably put on a more distinguished game face, especially in the last meeting the two had when Jobs was very ill. In addition, Jobs’ anger was more than likely focused on former Apple board member and then previous Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Biographer Walter Isaacson was present behind-the-scenes with Jobs, and last night he disputed Page’s assertion that Jobs’ anger was “for show”:

Isaacson continued: “It’s almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn’t a matter of money. He said: ‘You can’t pay me off, I’m here to destroy you’.”

As for what will happen now that Jobs isn’t around to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Google, Isaacson thinks that Apple CEO Tim Cook will handle things differently. “Tim Cook will settle that lawsuit”, Isaacson added.

In the book, Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

I offered up one explanation for the differences last night:

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