Google boss: Apple battle is ‘good for consumers’ (Video)

12/10/2012

Google's and Apple's smartphone platform war is the defining fight for the industry today’ according to Google’s CEO Eirc Schmidt. Speaking at the All Things Digital conference this week, Schmidt said that the rivalry between iOS and Android was much more important than the war between Apple's and Microsoft's desktop platforms.

Watch the video in full below (Runtime: 1 hour 10 mins):

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During an interview with AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Schmidt said, "The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today. We've not seen platform fights at this scale."

Google and Apple are battling around the world for domination in the smartphone market. The rate of Android adoption has soared past that of Apple's iOS platform and iPhone. Google already activates 1.3 million Android devices per day, and has 500 million total devices in the market. Apple has 400 million iOS devices, including iPods and iPads. Google believes it will reach a total of 1 billion deployed Android devices within 12 months.

This is good news for consumers, noted Schmidt. "The beneficiary is you guys. Prices are dropping rapidly. That's a wonderful value proposition," he said.

In a snub to Microsoft, Schmidt said that he feels the four most influential tech companies are Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Schmidt added that the omission of the largest software maker in the world was "Deliberate."

Schmidt avoided the topic of whether we can expect a new maps app on Apple, but was very clear on one point in the Google vs. Apple fight: "Apple should have kept with our maps."
“The fact of the matter is they decided a long time ago to do their own maps, and we saw this coming with their acquisitions," Schmidt said. "I think Apple has learned that maps are hard. We invested hundred of millions of dollars in satellite work, airplane work, drive-by work, and we think we have the best product in the industry.”

On the state of Android, Schmidt shares that the platform currently has 500 million handsets in the wild and should reach 1 billion by mid-2013. He claims four times as many Android phones are activated as iPhones,1.3 million per day (on average).

The former CEO points out that there are now (around) one billion smartphones and six billion (total) phones (including feature phones). He says that dwarfs the number of "traditonal" PCs (around 1.3-1.5 billion, by Microsoft's and Apple's accounting).

Patent wars

Commenting on Google’s patent wars with Apple and Microsoft, and the allegations that Google's subsidiary Motorola is abusing standards patents, Schmidt said: "I can't talk about [FRAND abuse] because I don’t know the details and because it actually just gets me too upset.

"Patent wars are a disaster for all of us. Everyone can find prior art for everything. So the new trick is to get judges to block devices country by country. It’s bad for innovation, it’s bad for choices."

Google’s dominance: Rise of the ‘Borg’?

On the subject of Google’s growing dominance in digital, Kara Swisher asked Schmidt: "You guys have vast ambitions. I think about you like the Borg. What is the end game? In the beginning you wanted to collect all the world’s information."

Schmidt responded: "We want to be in the center of the information revolution. The world doesn’t need more copycat products; it needs innovative products."

Asked what company he would most like to work for, other than Google, he commented, "I was on Apple’s board, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them. I was very good friends and very close to Steve Jobs, and we miss him dearly. Jeff Bezos has made remarkable moves. And again, Facebook has a billion users."

Schmidt used to sit on Apple's board but as the two firm's rivalry grew rapidly he stepped down, while former Apple chief executive Steve Jobs was furious with Android which he saw as a copy of the iOS operating system.

This has led to numerous high-profile patent cases between Apple and manufacturers using Android, notably Samsung, on issues of design and software.

On his company's ongoing struggles with China, he comments the Chinese internet censorship policy is a "hellacious law … true, hardcore censorship." He describes doing business in China as "untenable".

Read a full transcript of the video at AllThingsDigital here

Source: AllThingsDigital

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