Google's Schmidt Says Rivalry with Apple Stronger than Ever
As Google Chairman Eric Schmidt hit the interview trail this week to promote his new book, he addressed a number of contentious topics including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the ever-escalating battle between his company and Apple.
Schmidt was on Bloomberg TV Wednesday to talk about "How Google Works: The Rules for Success in the Internet Century," a book he co-wrote with Jonathan Rosenberg. When mention was made of how customers are lining up for blocks to get Apple's new iPhone models, Schmidt pointed out more than once that Samsung's similar phones were available a year ago.
When the subject turned to the competition between Apple and Google over their rival mobile operating systems, Schmidt was even more blunt.
"I would say that this brutal competition between Apple and Google over Android and iOS has enormous benefits for consumers worldwide," he said. "If you look at the innovation on the Apple side and the Google side, that competition -- which I think is the defining fight of the computer industry today -- it benefits (billions of people) globally."
Asked if the competition between the two famously contentious companies was as brutal as ever, Schmidt replied, "It's more so."
Lots at Stake
When we reached Scott Strawn, analyst and program director of Company Watch for IDC, he said Schmidt was more than likely portraying an attitude about competition that exists in both companies.
"He may be putting it in dramatic terms, but there is a lot at stake between these two companies -- 10s of billions of dollars, if not more," he told us. "We know how important operating systems are because of the dominant position Microsoft held for years in that area. Mobile is different, but this battle is taking place on a global scale as more people are getting and using these devices than ever before."
Assange has a book of his own out this week, "When Google Met WikiLeaks." In it he recalls an encounter with Schmidt in 2011, and Assange theorizes that Google amounts to a privatized National Security Agency.
In an ABC News interview Tuesday, Schmidt denied those allegations. "Julian is very paranoid about things. Google never collaborated with the NSA and in fact, we've fought very hard against what they did," Schmidt said.
Going For Volume
Later in his Bloomberg interview, Schmidt was asked if it worried him that companies developing for the Android OS weren't making as much money as Apple's iOS adopters.
"The fact of the matter is you can make a small market share with a lot of profits or you can make the same amount with a much larger market share and lesser profits," Schmidt said. "We go for volume in our strategies."
IDC's Strawn commented that the reason the two tech heavyweight champs seem to always be feuding is because they have such similar goals.
"The two companies are fundamentally different, but they're the same in that both want their OSes and related services in the hands of as many people as possible," Strawn said.