Google CEO says Steve Jobs’ hatred for Android was “actually for show”

Steve Jobs’ distain for Google’s mobile OS was well documented. There’s a famous quote from the late CEO’s biography that goes something like, “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

But according to Google’s CEO Larry Page, a large part of Jobs’ hatred for Android was merely for show. He believes that it was more of a way to rally his troops at Apple, rather than evidence of bad blood between the two companies…

Page recently sat down with Businessweek’s Brad Stone to talk about a wide range of topics, but what we found most interesting were the CEO’s comments on his relationship with Steve Jobs and his stance on Android:

Q: According to the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, when you became CEO you went to Jobs for advice. I know you had your differences at the end around Android, but what did you take from him as a mentor and a friend?

A: 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.”

Page certainly paints a different picture than Jobs’ biography does, which suggests that the Apple-founder’s hatred was blown way out of proportion. But if that’s the case, then how do you explain Apple’s laundry list of lawsuits it’s filed against Android manufacturers over the past two years?

What’s your take?