Former CEO discusses "on and off" relationship between the two technology titans.
Former Google CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt has questioned why Apple focuses on suing the search engine giant's partners instead of directly suing its competitor instead.
Referring to the "on and off" relationship between Apple and Google during the last year, Schmidt said the former's decision to remove Google's map app in iOS 6 was surprising, which wasn't one of the firm's best move.
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.
When asked whether Apple and Google are currently discussing a patent-related settlement, Schmidt avoided a direct response, but did hint at the fact that the rivals could be in talks.
"Apple and Google are well aware of the legal strategies of each other," he stated. "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."
Apple has spent hundreds of millions in court fees and losses in suing Google partners such as Samsung and Motorola. Further alluding to Apple's patent habits, Google stressed that companies in general are the main victims.
"Google is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. Let me tell you the loser here. There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this."
Last year, for the first time in the two firm's history, spending by both Apple and Google on patents exceeded their spending on research and development of new products.