Apple-Google smackdown --- who's lying about Android activation numbers?

Steve Jobs took time from his Apple TV and iPod announcement yesterday to take aim at Google and Android, saying that Apple was activating 230,000 devices a day, and adding, "We think some of our friends are counting upgrades in their numbers." Google disagrees. Who's right here?

Jobs was slightly coy with his accusation, not directly naming Android. But there's no doubt that was his target, espeically because he was in the process of announcing the 230,000 device-a-day figure, and Google had recently said it was activating 200,000 devices a day.

Google quickly responded to the Google accusation, telling Seth Weintraub at Fortune, "The Android activation numbers do not include upgrades and are, in fact, only a portion of the Android devices in the market since we only include devices that have Google services."

That would mean that the 200,000 number is an underestimate of the total number of Android devices activated per day.

Who's right here? I'd bet on Google. Note that Jobs gave himself an out, saying that "we believe" the Android activation number, but not claiming he knew it for a fact. In addition, it's unlikely that Google would respond to the accusation by telling an outright lie.

Among Jobs' many skills are that he's a master marketer and salesman. He doesn't need to use false insinuations to sell his company's products, and it's too bad that he resorted to that in this instance.

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