Google's Schmidt says Apple and Android struggle is the 'defining fight in the industry today'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In an interview with AllThingsD on Wednesday, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the battle between smartphone platforms is the most substantial fight in the history of computer technology, and more specifically the clash between Apple's iOS and Google's Android will help shape the tech landscape of the future.

Schmidt Interview
AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg (left) and Kara Swisher (middle) interview Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. | Source: AllThingsD


AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher sat down with Schmidt for over an hour, probing the Google executive about his thoughts on the smartphone industry, Google's presence as a platform company and specific questions regarding the search giant's relationship with Apple.

Speaking in broad terms, Schmidt reiterated his "gang of four" theory which says there are currently four network platform companies that have significant sway in dictating how the world interacts with consumer electronics and, to a great extent, each other. These companies are Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

While each company has a different business model, Amazon wants to be the world's largest store for example, Schmidt said the vast amount of resources poured into development combined with intertwining relationships ultimately adds up to "amazing" benefits for the consumer. He did note, however, that one platform war stands out as the "defining fight of the industry" today: the struggle between Apple and Google.

According to Schmidt, Google is trouncing Apple in terms of users, citing surveys that say Android devices outnumber their iOS counterparts four to one, adding that the mobile OS could see one billion users within the next year.

"There's a huge race now, specifically between Apple and the Android platform, for additional features of one kind or another," Schmidt said. "We would argue that if you're using the Chrome platform, you have the world's most powerful front-end browser and in many countries, Chrome is now the number one browser."

He went on to say that the widespread adoption of Chrome, as well as the Google's reach online, has allowed Google to offer an advanced set of cloud-based applications offered only on Android.

Schmidt Talking


The discussion inevitably turned to Apple's replacement of the Google Maps-powered iOS app with the new iOS 6 Maps, a solution based on proprietary technology resulting from a number of acquisitions and partnerships. When the service launched alongside the iPhone 5 in September, pundits and consumers both bemoaned the app for its apparently spurious mapping information as well as a lack of detail and features.

When asked what he thought about the situation, Schmidt snidely said, "Apple should have kept with our maps," a remark echoing the sentiments he offered shortly after iOS Maps launched in September.

Mossberg cut in to say that Google neglected to keep "feature parity" between Android's mapping app and its iOS counterpart. More directly, built-in turn-by-turn navigation was mentioned, alluding to a feature some have averred to be the reason why Apple switched to its own mapping solution.

"We negotiated all these details with Apple, and the fact of the matter is they decided a long time ago to do their own maps," Schmidt countered. "I think what Apple has learned is that maps are really hard. I think they really are hard."

He noted that Google spent "hundreds of millions of dollars" in data gathering for its mapping solution, which includes satellite, plane and "drive-by" information.

Incomplete Data
Google Maps' building data (left) versus same view on Apple's Maps (right).


In regard to Apple's decision to ditch Google Maps, Swisher asked, "Why would [Apple] keep your maps," to which Schmidt replied, "They're better maps."

As for the possibility of a native iOS Google Maps app, the Google chairman remained cagey, saying only that Apple is responsible for approving apps that are distributed through the App Store. Schmidt ultimately refused to "pre-announce" any of Google's supposed iOS offerings.

While a full-fledged app may still be months away, Google's Street View went live for the Google Maps web app earlier this month, granting iOS device users access to the feature through the Safari web browser.

Street View
Google Street View in mobile Safari. | Source: Google


Later in the interview, Schmidt commented on the ongoing "patent wars," many of which involve technology from Apple and Google, and said they were "death." Patent litigation has reached a point where smaller companies can no longer protect their inventions.

?I think this is ultimately bad, bad for innovation," Schmidt said, adding, "It eliminates choices.?

Although he had some choice words for Apple, Schmidt admitted he would always have a "soft spot" for the company as he had served on its board for three years. A question from the audience perhaps sums up Schmidt's respect for Apple:

"If you had to be a CEO again, would you choose Apple, Amazon or Facebook?" Schmidt responded dryly, "Which one has the most cash? Would be Apple."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 155
    Orange sweater. Hmm... almost as bad as the red sweater vest worn by Ballmer at CES.
  • Reply 2 of 155
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member


    Here's some questions I would like to see asked:-


     


    "Mr Schmidt, if Google releases an iOS maps app, how would you monetize it, given that Apple would no longer be responsible for paying for licensing?"


     


    "Could this be the real reason why you are not committed to an iOS app?"


     


    It must hurt to lose several hundred million users within a matter of weeks.

  • Reply 3 of 155
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    These behemoths end up extinct vis-à-vis MS. Stay stong and carry on.

  • Reply 4 of 155
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    And yet you are the defining villain.
  • Reply 5 of 155
    Eric Schmidt, the mole who sat on Apple's board and stole all of Apple's innovations and came out with an inferior, second-rate copycat product that is fragmented, has viruses, crashes continuously, and has a terrible user interface.

    Yeah, Eric, I would never heed your opinion on ANYTHING. You aren't even .01% the man that Steve Jobs was.
  • Reply 6 of 155
    hftshfts Posts: 386member
    Larry and Sergei are all your pets named Eric?
  • Reply 7 of 155
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,227member
    I would like his answer to why they withheld so many features while they benefited from all of the crowd source data from iPhones.
  • Reply 8 of 155


  • Reply 9 of 155
    I hope that EU will deal a big blow to Google on its search dominance on mobile platform. How come they do not need to ask the users which search engines the users want to use on Android.
  • Reply 10 of 155
    I don't really see how this is a "struggle" from Apple's standpoint: these are two platforms that cater to a very different set of demographics. Android caters to the less well-off, freeloading, more techy/nerdy segment of the market while Apple goes for the opposite.

    Apple should simply let Google have its low-enders.

    All Apple should worry about is making sure there is sufficient room for growth left both in market expansion and the replacement market (for those whom it already has as a customer). Apple currently seems to have no problems with either. Indeed it's the opposite: people cannot seem to get enough of -- and Apple cannot make enough of -- any new product.

    If there is a struggle, it's almost entirely over theft.
  • Reply 11 of 155
    Eric Schmidt, the Joe Biden of Google

    A "billion" Android devices, and $0 profit to Google. Eric, please explain the path forward...

    Please explain how you let Amazon completely fragment and undermine your tablet roadmap ....How your $199 Nexus 7" has killed off ANY tablet opportunity for your stable of hardware partners including Samsung..How you still effectively have no presence or material business in China.... Please explain why the vast majority of Android devices are still running 2.5 year old Gingerbread... What ever happened to the Q and could you imagine Apple ever doing that... Comment on your claim that Google TV would be on half of TVs by last summer... Are you concerned that you massively overpaid for MOT and your endanger of a massive $5 Billion write-off... Are you concerned that the No Track efforts are going to completely undermine your display ad business... What are the thoughts of the FCC deciding to look at your business for monopoly behavior.... And the EU threatening to look at you for FRAND patent abuse...

    Hey Walt, wake up there and ask some tougher questions in the future
  • Reply 12 of 155


    Google needs to put a permanent ball gag in Schmidt's mouth. Why do they let him speak in public?

  • Reply 13 of 155
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Later in the interview, Schmidt commented on the ongoing "patent wars," many of which involve technology from Apple and Google, and said they were "death." Patent litigation has reached a point where smaller companies can no longer protect their inventions.

    IOW, Google's entire strategy is to steal every one else's intellectual property and IP laws interfere with that goal.
    Although he had some choice words for Apple, Schmidt admitted he would always have a "soft spot" for the company as he had served on its board for three years. A question from the audience perhaps sums up Schmidt's respect for Apple:
    "If you had to be a CEO again, would you choose Apple, Amazon or Facebook?" Schmidt responded dryly, "Which one has the most cash? Would be Apple."

    Not to mention:
    Which one innovates? Apple
    Which one has products that people actually prefer to buy? Apple
    Which one makes money on their mobile OS? Apple
  • Reply 14 of 155
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I LOL at his Microsoft comments. Didn't put it in the top 4 tech companies and said the surface could be something...if it works. Ouch. Also said hardware/software integration is where it's at. Um, yeah, and Apple figured this out how long ago? :lol:

    But he does need to STFU when it comes to patents. Especially considering that was the main reason Google purchased Moto.
  • Reply 15 of 155
    Who has the most cash? I don't get why that's his top interest
  • Reply 16 of 155


    Yup, exactly.


     


    How long will Goog survive as a virtual company?


    How long before the rug gets pulled out when the market realizes that the whole Goog scheme has been a sham?

     

  • Reply 17 of 155

    Quote:

    "If you had to be a CEO again, would you choose Apple, Amazon or Facebook?" Schmidt responded dryly, "Which one has the most cash? Would be Apple."


     


    This has got to be the dumbest question of the whole interview.  There is no way Apple would let this guy near the CEO position.  Not to mention Google already removed Schmidt (supposedly a promotion) as CEO and Apple kicked him off the board.  And Schmidt's response about the "most cash" is really quite a commentary on his leadership of Google vis-a-vis Jobs.  So why would any of those three companies want this joker as CEO?  

  • Reply 18 of 155

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post



    I don't really see how this is a "struggle" from Apple's standpoint: these are two platforms that cater to a very different set of demographics. Android caters to the less well-off, freeloading, more techy/nerdy segment of the market while Apple goes for the opposite.

    Apple should simply let Google have its low-enders.


    This comment makes you look like a piece of shit.  Please realize that there is no way to lump such a large group of people into categories like "freeloaders" or "wealthy" based off of a single consumer decision.  I hope you don't actually believe what you wrote, but you probably do.

  • Reply 19 of 155
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    This comment makes you look like a piece of shit.  

    likewise for you ...
  • Reply 20 of 155
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,216member
    This comment makes you look like a piece of shit.  Please realize that there is no way to lump such a large group of people into categories like "freeloaders" or "wealthy" based off of a single consumer decision.  I hope you don't actually believe what you wrote, but you probably do.

    Actually, if you look at demographics, iPhone users have a substantially higher median household income than Android users.

    http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2012/10/sorry-samsung-iphone-is-not-your-mothers-smartphone.php
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