Google's Eric Schmidt: 'It's extremely curious that Apple chooses not to sue Google directly'

Former CEO also says he's 'not sure why' Apple ditched Google Maps and YouTube in iOS 6

Google's former CEO and current Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that it is "extremely curious" that Apple has chosen to sue Google partners rather than Google itself, and that patent litigation will continue between the two companies "for a while."

Schmidt said that Google's relationship with Apple has "always been a bit on and off". "Obviously, we would have preferred them to use our maps. They threw YouTube off the home screen [in iOS 6]. I'm not quite sure why they did that," he admitted.

Many iOS users would also have preferred Apple to keep Google's maps, and, following major criticism, Apple CEO Time Cook was forced to apologise for the poor mapping service that's littered with inaccuracies and mistakes.

Schmidt believes that Apple and Google battle like countries, not kids with guns. "The press would like to write the sort of teenage model of competitions, which is, 'I have a gun, you have a gun, who shoots first?" Schmidt continued. "The adult way to run a business is to run it more like a country. They have disputes, yet they've actually been able to have huge trade with each other. They're not sending bombs at each other."

"I think both Tim [Cook] and Larry [Page, Google CEO], the sort of successors to Steve [Jobs] and me if you will, have an understanding of this state model," Schmidt explained. "When they and their teams meet, they have just a long list of things to talk about."

"Apple and Google are well aware of the legal strategies of each other," Schmidt replied when asked whether the two companies are discussing a patent-related settlement. "Part of the conversations that are going on all the time is to talk about them. It's extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google's partners [such as Samsung] and not Google itself."

Schmidt explained that patent litigation between Apple and Google will likely continue "for a while," but that the two companies will be fine. The real losers are start up technology businesses, he said. "How is he or she going to be able tot get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product?" he asked. "That's the real consequence of this."

Schmidt said that he sees Siri, Apple's voice activated assistant, as competition to Google search, and that it is something Google does worry about.

When asked for his thoughts on Microsoft's new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Schmidt said that he hasn't yet used it, but he noted "Microsoft has not emerged as a trendsetter in this new model yet."

See also:

California judge warns Apple, Samsung to follow court rules

iOS tops Android in smartphone sales, survey says

Arendi: 'All Apple's products infringe on our patents'

Will Apple reject Google's Maps app for iOS 6?

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Ashleigh Allsopp

Macworld U.K.
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