Yesterday, in an onstage interview with AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt discussed a wide range of topics, which gave an insight into where the company is heading. As you might have guessed, he also discussed Google’s relationship with Apple.
Here’re some of the highlights from that interview:
When asked about the Maps situation with Apple, he said:
“Apple should have kept 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.” He went on state that Apple had done very well with Google Maps.
When he was asked whether Google will make a new maps app for Apple devices, he gave a diplomatic answer:
“I don’t want to preannounce products, but I can tell you that were we to do that, Apple would have to approve it.” He pointed out that Apple haven’t approved all of Google’s apps in the past and are all subject to a discussion.
He also felt that the Apple-Google platform fight was the defining fight in the industry today. “We’ve not seen platform fights at this scale,” he said. “The beneficiary is you guys (i.e., consumers). Prices are dropping rapidly. That’s a wonderful value proposition.”
Regarding the patent wars, Schmidt said that he couldn’t talk about it because he didn’t know the details and because it actually just gets him too upset.
He said “These patent wars are death” and noted that software is always overlapping, and that there are an estimated 200,000 patents covering the software industry. “Everyone can find prior art for everything” he said. “So the new trick is to get judges to block devices country by country.” He felt “this is ultimately bad, bad for innovation. It eliminates choices.”
When asked about the $1 billion ruling that went against Samsung, he said he didn’t know enough to comment about it, but mentioned that Samsung was very upset about it.
You can watch the entire interview below: