Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra Fires Back At Apple’s ‘Melodramatic’ Copycat Accusations

Does Xiaomi's Mi 4 handset bear a resemblance to Apple's iPhone 5? You betcha, and Xiaomi boss Hugo Barra isn't ashamed to admit as much. However, he's not willing to concede that Xiaomi is stealing Apple's designs, as famed design chief (for Apple) Jony Ive once alleged when stating the similarities between products isn't "flattery," but "theft."

Chinese startup Xiaomi has risen in the ranks as a maker of premium Android smartphones that sell for less than what Samsung charges. And like Samsung, Apple takes issue with Xiaomi's designs. Samsung was once sued for copying the look and feel of Apple's iPhone products, and you have to wonder if Xiaomi find itself the target of litigation someday. But if you ask Barra, Apple's being melodramatic.

Mi Note
If you ask Xiaomi CEO Hugo Barra, he'll tell you nothing about the Mi Note (shown above) looks like Apple's iPhone 6

"This whole copycat melodrama all boils down to one chamfered edge on one particular phone model, which was Mi 4, which people said looked like the iPhone 5. And I've been the first one to admit it -- yes, it does look like the iPhone 5," Barra told Bloomberg in a video interview. "And that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices."

Barra goes on to explain that all smartphones look a bit similar to another in some way. He argues there's no getting around the general design, as smartphones must have curved corners and "at least a home button in some way, right? That's how interaction design works."

What Barra takes issue with is Apple taking ownership of it all. He also feels there's some bias against China, which makes Xiaomi an easy target for criticism.

"It was in many ways people projecting their bias against Chinese companies onto us," Barra said. "People just couldn't bring themselves to believe that a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high quality products, and by the way sell them for less than half the price of a high end Apple or Samsung device. I think that drama has quickly started to vanish."

Barra believes things are going to reverse course in the near future, where instead of people accusing Xiaomi of copying Apple, it will be Apple and other companies taking inspiration from Xiaomi's designs.

What do you think, is Barra a truthsayer, or does he have his head buried in the sand?