Services & Software

Google's Schmidt sends Apple message about 'adult way to run a business'

Eric Schmidt describes uneven ties between the smartphone rivals and registers surprise at recent Apple decisions governing their relationship.

Hard to believe that at one time in the not-very-distant past, Apple's board of directors included one Eric Schmidt, at the time the chief executive of Google.

Of course, Schmidt's stint as a board member came to an end in 2009 as Google began to more directly compete against Apple. The ensuing war of words between the companies shows little ebb, and in an interview with The Wall Street Journal today, Schmidt, now Google's executive chairman, used the occasion to gob-smack Apple around just a bit, contrasting the way the two companies manage their business decisions.

Alluding to the "on and off" relationship between Apple and Google in the last year, Schmidt expressed surprise at Apple's decision to stop using Google's map app in iOS6, a decision that led to much embarrassment in September after users reported getting wrong location results from Apple's replacement app. Apple subsequently apologized to users.

Obviously, we would have preferred them to use our maps. They threw YouTube off the home screen [of iPhones and iPads]. I'm not quite sure why they did that. The press would like to write the sort of teenage model of competition, which is, 'I have a gun, you have a gun, who shoots first?'

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, Apple's CEO] and Larry [Page, Google's CEO], the sort of successors to Steve [Jobs] and me if you will, have an understanding of this state model. When they and their teams meet, they have just a long list of things to talk about.

Asked whether Apple and Google are discussing a patent-related settlement, Schmidt avoided answering the question but hinted that the companies might be talking, albeit remain far apart.

Apple and Google are well aware of the legal strategies of each other. 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 and not Google itself.

You can read the full interview here.