updated 11:01 pm EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
Interview addresses patent wars, Apple Maps, Microsoft
In an interview with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher for AllThingsD, Google Chariman Eric Schmidt called the market battle between iOS devices and the Android operating system "the defining fight in the industry today." He also called the ongoing smartphone patent wars "death," and that they were having a larger impact on small companies than large companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung.
Schmidt said in regards to smartphone sales that "we’ve not seen platform fights at this scale,” he said. “The beneficiary is you guys. Prices are dropping rapidly. That’s a wonderful value proposition."
Regarding the omnipresent patent lawsuits, Schmidt said he couldn't talk about them because he didn't fully understand them, and the topic was too upsetting. He noted that there was frequent overlaps in the software industry, given the 200,000 patents covering products. He added that "I think this is ultimately bad, bad for innovation. It eliminates choices."
When questioned about Apple's shift away from Google Maps, he said that Cupertino "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. 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 topic of whether Google would create (or is created, or has created) an iOS 6-compatible mapping application, Schmidt said that “I don’t want to pre-announce products, but I can tell you that were we to do that Apple would have to approve it."
Schmidt stuck with a previous concept of a "Gang of Four" technology companies leading the industry. He said besides Apple and Google's contributions that "Facebook is attempting to become the world’s communications hub; and Amazon is attempting to become the world’s largest store." When asked why Microsoft wasn't on the list, making it a Gang of Five, Schmidt called it "a well-run company," but said "they don’t make state-of-the-art products." [via AllThingsD]