JONY IVE: 'I See It As Theft' When Competitors Copy Apple Designs

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Jony Ive Apple Portrait Illustration

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

Jony Ive called it "theft" when other companies copy Apple designs.

Apple's design boss Jony Ive gave a rare live interview at Vanity Fair's New Establishment in San Francisco Thursday night.

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At one point, a member of the audience asked Ive what he thought about Xiaomi, a Chinese startup that makes smartphones with a remarkable similarity to iPhones.

Ive, speaking broadly about Xiaomi and other companies that make products that look similar to Apple gadgets, called it outright theft.

"I don't see it as flattery. I see it as theft," Ive said. "I have to be honest. The last think I think is 'Oh, that is flattering...all those weekends I could've been home with my family...I think it's theft and it's lazy. I don't think it's OK at all."

xiaomi mi4

Xiaomi

Xiaomi phones are often criticized for looking a lot like iPhones.

Ive said he and his team spend so much time designing products that it's frustrating to see others swoop in and copy those ideas.

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