Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Says Apple Relationship Has Improved

Posted by at 12:16 pm on July 12, 2013

Eric SchmidtAccording to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, the relationship between his company and Apple — once notoriously frosty after Google retooled Android to be more like iOS following the debut of the iPhone — has warmed up somewhat over the past year, with the two rivals conducting “lots and lots” of meetings alongside other partners “on a long list of issues.” Schmidt, who is attending the Allen and Company Sun Valley tech and media conference along with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other figures, once sat on Apple’s board of directors.

Apple has systematically moved to reduce its dependence on Google for services, though it still lets Google place apps and other offerings on Apple devices, and is still — for the moment — the default search engine in Safari. Most famously the company tried to sever its relationship with Google over iOS maps, but launched its own version too early — a move that caused the company much embarrassment and resulting in former VP Scott Forstall leaving Apple. Since then, the Maps programs has improved substantially and is often cited as being better than Google’s offering on the actual mapping, but lacking in as many features as Google’s Maps service and apps offer, such as integrated transit directions and Street View.

In the company’s most recent keynote, Apple revealed that Microsoft’s Bing will replace Google as the default search engine in Siri starting with iOS 7, and has begun offering Vimeo as a video-sharing option apart from YouTube. Both Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook believe that Android stole concepts and perhaps even code in recreating the mobile OS, with the former vowing to spend “every penny” of Apple’s cash hoard to “right this wrong.” While the two companies have mostly avoided direct court confrontation, Apple has won several court victories of patent infringement, some of which involve Android features.

The two companies do, however, continue to cooperate on a large number of endeavors from advertising to search to even some legal matters, which results in “lots and lots” of meetings, Schmidt said. Google and Apple are “in constant businesses discussions” and said that Chief Business Office Nikesh Arora, who is also at Sun Valley with Schmidt, leads many of the discussions between the two companies. Apple Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue is accompanying Cook at the conference, leaving the possibility that the foursome may have private discussions during their week together.

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