updated 12:48 pm EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Says Google, public would benefit from more cooperation
It "would be nice" if Google could get along better with rival companies like Apple and Amazon, says Google CEO Larry Page in a new Fortune interview. He calls it a "shame" that the three companies are competing using entirely different business models: Apple relying on hardware, Google on advertising for free services, and Amazon on low-margin, high-volume web store sales. "All the big technology companies are big because they did something great," he remarks. "I'd like to see more cooperation on the user side. The Internet was made in universities and it was designed to integrate. And as we've commercialized it, we've added more of an island-like approach to it, which I think is somewhat of a shame for users."
If Google could cooperate better with its rivals, Page suggests that users would "suffer" somewhat less. "We try pretty hard to make our products available as widely as we can. That's our philosophy," he comments. "I think sometimes we're allowed to do that. Sometimes we're not."
On the subject of Apple specifically, Page says that Google has a "big search relationship" with the company, and that the two parties do talk. He adds that he was friendly with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, but only "at times." Page is sticking by his perspective that Jobs' anger against Android was mostly for show and meant to rally Apple workers and supporters. "That's something I try not to do," he says. "I don't try to rally my company in that way because I think that if you're looking at somebody else, you're looking at what they do now, and that's not how again you stay two or three steps ahead."
In recent months rumors have grown that Apple and Google are trying to resolve patent disputes that have seen Apple level lawsuits against Android device makers. While Apple has settled with HTC, it is still locked in confrontations with companies like Samsung.