Google chairman Eric Schmidt would like to be CEO of Apple, thinks Apple should never have ditched Google Maps, and believes that the patent wars is "a disaster for us all".
During an interview with AllThingsD's Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, Schmidt revealed that given the choice of being CEO for Apple, Amazon or Facebook, he would choose Apple because Apple has the most cash. He also emphasized that having been on Apple’s board, he'll "always have a soft spot for them", and revealed that he was "very good friends and very close to Steve Jobs, and we miss him dearly."
Schmidt wasn't completely full of praise for Apple, however. When quizzed about Apple's decision to ditch Google Maps for its own Maps he said: "Apple should have kept our maps."
"Apple decided a long time ago to do their own maps … [now they've] discovered that maps are really hard," he added.
Schmidt didn't elaborate on the return of Google Maps on the iPhone, beyond emphasizing what he said recently, about Apple having to approve such an app. He said: "Don’t want to pre-announce products, but if we made one, they would have to approve it. They haven’t approved all of our apps in the past," he noted.
Beyond Maps, the other area where Google and Apple are sharing headlines is the patent wars. When quizzed about news that Google subsidiary Motorola is being examined by the FTC for not sharing 'standards-essential patents', Schmidt said: "I can’t talk about it because I don’t know the details and because it actually just gets me too upset."
He went on to elaborate: "Patent wars are a disaster for all of us. Everyone can find prior art for everything. So the new trick is to get judges to block devices country by country. It’s bad for innovation, it’s bad for choices."
"We are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fight these fights against patent trolls, and we’re winning," he added.
When prompted about the Apple versus Samsung case, where a jury found Samsung guilty of copying Apple, Schmidt said: "I don’t know enough about it. I know that Samsung is very upset. It’s better if I don’t comment on the jury’s decision."
“The world doesn’t need more copycat products; it needs innovative products,” he added.
When questioned about whether Motorola – acquired by Google earlier this year – would benefit from its direct connection with Google, perhaps resulting in a "Pure Google phone". Schmidt emphasized: "We’re not going to give Motorola an advantage of over Samsung."
Schmidt went on to talk about "the Android-Apple platform fight", claiming that Google is beating Apple. "Apple has thousands of developers building for it. Google’s platform, Android, is even larger," he said.
"Four times more Android phones than Apple phones. 500 million phones already in use. Doing 1.3 million activations a day. We’ll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year," he added.
This battle is good for consumers, Schmidt claims: "The beneficiary is you all, the customer, globally. This is wonderful."
And the battle rages on: the smartphone industry is beating the PC industry, according to Schmidt: "Compare this to the PC industry. Phone user population is six billion, one billion smartphone users. Much bigger than the PC industry — maybe a billion, 1.5 billion installed."
"Every month, quarter, year, the growth rate of mobile adoption exceeds everyone’s expectations. The phones become so useful that it’s good enough for normal people in lieu of a PC, for day-to-day events. Years ago, people like myself, we missed that," Schmidt said.