Eric Schmidt

Last evening we saw a reserved Larry Page talk a bit about Google, mobile, and all manner of tech. In contrast, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt always has plenty to say. He sat down with Bloomberg and talked about the economy, taxes (Google pays plenty, but has no shame about trying to pay as little as possible), and growth in the mobile sector. The economy and taxes are topics I don't have the expertise or nerve to tackle, but mobile talk gets me interested.

Demand for Android is at an all-time high. the last numbers from Gartner show that Google holds 72-percent of the market, and the number keeps growing -- with 1.3 million devices activated every day we expect huge numbers. Schmidt compares this with the desktop race of the 1990's between Microsoft and Apple, with Google being the clear winner.

This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago; Microsoft versus Apple. We’re winning that war pretty clearly now. The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.

By giving the Android source code away, Google is guaranteeing that there will be an abundance of devices running software that is compatible with their most lucrative service -- information gathering. Much fuss is made about the data Google gets from users, but they make no bones about what they collect, how they use it, and how you can have it all deleted. In return, we get great products (like Android devices) and awesome services (like Gmail). It's a situation that has treated Google well.

It's also clear that Google is riding the wave of Android's success, even though devices sold don't directly equate to profit from sales. As Schmidt puts it like only he can, Google is winning.

Source: Bloomberg


Reader comments

Eric Schmidt: Android is winning the tech war with Apple


The Modern Mobile device is dead without Google. Can you imagine using your device without Google running?? No G-Mail?? Forget about it. Thank You Google.

I don't agree with your first statement. However, I will agree that Google's services are very convenient: GMail is the best email service I have ever used.

@vinny jr

Yes I can imagine...

It called Windows Phone 8.

What a horrible imagination I have.


Gmail is simply using IMAP 4, and as a result, people love it compared to webmail only or webmail plus POP3. That alone doesn't make gmail some wonderful thing. The fact that Google has done a great job with integration is why so many people love it.

Google Maps, with navigation, compared to a standalone GPS(which doesn't interfere with GPS functionality just because a call comes in on your phone) still makes me prefer a Tomtom or Garmin device. It isn't about how well or poorly Google does with the software, it is simply having your navigation interrupted that makes me say that a phone doesn't do as good a job in that regard. Still, it has its uses. Also note that if you live in a rural area where cell phone service has dead areas or is very slow(Verizon 3G), you don't want to rely on Google Maps for your navigation(even though you can save map data to your device).

The big thing about innovation is what Google has been working on. Google Now is a pretty sweet feature, and as it evolves, it will become better yet. If you look at the REAL evolution of platforms, Android has significantly improved over the years, not just adding features, but improving the overall feel. This is why you see a huge surge in Android use since ICS came out. Innovation isn't just about "faster", it is about trying something new, and then getting it working well.

@Targon... Just wanted to say one thing... my Google navigation is NEVER interrupted when I receive a call or a text or anything. no idea what you are talking about. I still hear her telling me where to go or I can turn that off and just look at the navigation on my phone while in the middle of the call. I'm on the road using my gps while making or receiving phone calls each and every day without a hitch. YMMV but its obvious its not an issue across the board ... your point is moot

That sucks. When I'm navigating and receive a call, I continue to be navigated through the earpiece, under the conversation.

Of course android is winning a race apple is not even running. Apple set out to win the profit race, it was never about market share for them. That's why the iphone was exclusive for that long. They set up exactly the kind of deal they wanted and change the game in their favors instead of the carriers calling the shots. That's why you don't see carrier bloatwares or branding on the iphone while every other phones are plasted with those things. Last I check apple was getting 70% of the industry profits with their losing market share. As far as apple is concern they are winning where every public company is measured by profits, funny he left that part out.

Although many people on this forum would call you a "troll" (as I have been callee many times by less magnanimous individuals), I think you are right. I doubt that Apple wants to go back to those days when they sacrificed market share in place of profit.

Totally different business models.

Sorry my friend you can't have 1 without the other. if Apple had 50 percent of the market right now the profit margins would be higher period.

Actually profits are shrinking.... a reason their stock hasn't been able to recover the recent loss as of yet. The game Apple is playing is great in the short term. However without truly innovative ground breaking products in the pipeline, their current margin simply cannot be sustained.

The sad truth is people are increasingly after cheaper prices and Android has shown it can easily keep up with or surpass the iPhone in terms of features and usability. It also covers ALL aspects of the market- from the cheap feature phones to the full featured models with all the bells and whistles. And there is already signs the same thing is happening in the tablet market. Then to add insult to injury, the iPad Mini seems to be cannibalizing the full-sized iPad's market share.

All these factors point to an Apple that is about to deflate.

In their book google is the most innovative company ever. From what I can see google is nothing but a me too company whose business model allows them to undercut others since they make their money differently. Look at all their products, gmail, youtube, android to name a few all bought.

"In their book google is the most innovative company ever."

Don't all successful companies feel that way about themselves? I'm sure Apple feels the same way lol

I completely agree... Android may be winning on how many devices are sold altogether but like it or not Apple is definitely still ahead when it comes to actually consuming those devices, whether its because of fanboy-ism or the iSheep phenomenon doesn't matter. Majority of the mobile web traffic still comes from Apple devices. While Apple reaps profit on each device old, Samsung is probably the only handset maker earning profit from Android. I'll quote a line I read in an article, 'If Google doesn't take care soon Android might become Samsung or Samsung might become Android'

The big idea here is that once Google realized that mobile was the future, it built out its services for mobile. Chamfered edges only get you so far. Your device has to do useful things for you.

To be fair, what can android do that iOS cannot that is useful?

Can both not allow you to watch videos, surf the Internet, access your email, check the weather, tweet, etc?

+9000 lol The news is still attacking those maps, especially after those Australians ended up in the middle of nowhere.

I didn't neglect to read anything lol. I was at work watching Fox News and the headline was about the Apple Maps app. I didn't know the same was said about Google Maps. I use a standalone gps, though; so, I can't debate the reliability of Google Maps.

This is pretty obvious and Google has what it takes to stay strong in the coming years. As for Apple not so much. Google present/future/innovation = Winner # 1 Apple Past/going to be/old/ran out of ideas/ = Loser # 2 and will be below after 5 years. If you don't believe me DO YOUR RESEARCH and read the article and other sites like this they will be the same story. That is the truth so deal with it.

Comments like this always bring a smile to my face. Everyone in the mobile industry is playing the game the way apple set it up in 2007. I look around and I don't see anything different from what the iphone introduced in 2007. Everyone is doing apps now on their phone which was unheard off before the iphone. We now have a little more interactions with apps and some are presented differently but at the end of the day its the same shit. For all the innovation I hear others are making nothing has changed from what the iphone set out to do in 2007. The iphone change the game by bringing us out of the dark ages to the apps world we are in now. Wake me up when one of your so called innovative companies change things the way we are currently using our phones to something completely different and better and the whole industry follows suit.

"Everyone is doing apps now on their phone which was unheard off before the iphone."

Do some research, there were apps way before the iPhone. Apple did re-invigorate the smartphone market with a popular product - I'll give them that. But most of the technologies incorporated into the original iPhone were nothing new.

I'll also go as far to say that if Apple didn't come out with an iPhone-like smartphone, someone else would have. The LG Prada was proof of that. It might have taken longer for everyone to come out with theirs, true, but it would have happened anyway.

And competition breeds innovation on BOTH sides. If Android wasn't around to compete with Apple, pull down notifications, folder support, nfc etc would probably have been nonexistent till, maybe, iPhone 8.

HTC changed the game and SET THE BAR with Large screens 4+ inch 4G phones in 2010. And now, we see Apple playing catch up... LOL!

Google changed the game with OTA background cloud data syncing for Android... Apple played catch-up to match that.

Dude, just face it... The last innovative product Apple put out was the iPhone 4 over 2 years ago. They have been playing catch up ever since. And that is why their rear ends are being kicked.

"I look around and I don't see anything different from what the iphone introduced in 2007"

yea... he didnt get it in 2007, and i dont think he ever will.

Respectfully, I disagree. If that were the case, the late Steve Jobs wouldn't have made the comments of willing to have "thermonuclear war" with Android. With that said, let's be very clear here, Apple did not innovate the underlying technologies that got us here. What they did do, and what their success today is built on, is pushing the boundaries of what is available and packaging them in a way that consumers respond to. What Apple is today is the outcome of two primary devices, the iPod and the iPhone, and to a much lesser extent, the iPad.

The issue with Apple today is, apart from the few suppliers (and even some of those), Apple has distanced itself from a large part of the tech industry. The largest online retailer, the largest manufacturer of DRAM and IC's, the largest search engine and online search and services provider, and finally the largest desktop OS software company all compete against Apple. Yes Apple has been in the lead but if you look back at history, it will repeatedly echo that this is a losing battle. Sony, Kodak, even Apple itself have all suffered this fate. Read the script, it's been played out over and over.

As much as we complain about Microsoft Windows, it still runs a VAST majority of PC's. I wholeheartedly disagree about the market share argument. Sure they tap most of the profits now, but ask Blackberry if it would rather have market share or profits, I know if I was the CEO of any company which one I would choose. In the end, Apple's closed ecosystem may even accelerate it's demise this time around. I wouldn't count them out by a long shot however, they have a boatload of cash and talented people, they very well could release another game changing product.

The same can be said for all the companies you listed. Google's bread and butter is search married with ads any slowdown on that end and they are in trouble. Android is not making much money for them for all the boasting they are doing. Amazon is losing money in hopes of gaining market share and make up for it later I remember reading tomorrow is not promised to anyone. So in my view they are all in the same boat, but apple is seating with a boatload of cash and worth more than all those companies you name combined so I think they will be fine.

You have missed how broad the Google offerings are. Apple has been ALL about maximizing profits per unit, but has not been widening services that EVERYONE wants to use. iTunes was a decent shot, but due to intentionally making the Windows version worse than the version for MacOS, many people do try to use other sources of music. So, what other services does Apple try to offer for EVERYONE, not just for Apple devices?

All I am getting from this comment is Apple coined the term "apps". Calling them that and advertising them that way is what Apple did to bring them to light for the general public, but they were around long before that. You could argue that the fist cell phone with a calculator had an "app". So Apple was just following suit doing the "same old shit" they just marketed it better.

It was Palm that really popularized apps for a PDA, and the iPhone is nothing more than a PDA with a built in cell phone.

Couldn't have said it better myself. You look at all the mobile technologies of today, and 99% of them were introduced one way or another by PALM first! Apps, Mobile OS, PDA's/Smart "devices", multitasking, sync across devices (later better with synergy)....all PALM!

Truely sad to see a pioneer in the market be dissolved the way ti was.
*Soapbox* Long live webOS/Enyo (via open source projects) *Soapbox*

@Androidopensour - Easy, in one word, CHOICE. Android gives me the power to choose what kind of device, and to some degree, software I want. Apple maintains one to two models of iPhone at any given time. Beyond the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, there are little to no other choices, and really up until the 4S it's just been a constant modernization of the same device.

Android however, comes in many shapes and sizes. Some of us don't want a $600 phone. Some of us might want a flip phone, or fold out keyboard, or a overly large screen. Some of us may hate a particular manufacturer, or love another. With Android, this is not only possible, it is the ecosystem today.

As a consumer, this is important to me, and I vote with my credit card.

Very well said. :)

I completely agree with you on choice. My own personal experience, I was rather disappointed that manufacturers held back on the updates. I know that one can root and unlock the boot loader, but I wish that the push over the air was quickly rolled out (I consider over 3 days late)

I am looking forward to when the improvements that android and the OEM's have in store.

Thats funny. I remember apps on my Blackberry, before any iCrap phones. I remember apps on my Windows Mobile phone. I even remember apps on my Palm. Before there even were smart phones.
Yes, Apple give the app store first. But that was more about control, than anything else.
Google made it better and does not require the control.

I actually miss my first Blackberry. Blackberry Pearl: my first smartphone. I was so geeked to buy it because it had the "real" internet, not the "mobile web" that my old flip phones used to have. I actually liked RIM's App Store: it had some pretty solid offerings considering the time. I'm really hoping BB10 comes out swinging hard.

Yes those were apps just like bb used to be call smartphones. Yes the dumbest smartphone one can find.

Smartphones first came in the early 90s ('92/'93, to be exact). I'm sure that isn't the period you're referring to :)

If apple phones don't have carrier branding or bloatware on them why does the iPhone I bought my mother have the word Verizon on the status bar and Verizon apps that can't be deleted.....seems like branding and bloat to me.....

Android wins because of it's wide variety of choices in hardware, unlike iOS. Want a physical keyboard,Android has one.Want a beautiful phablet-sized screen? Android's got that.Want a petit 3.5-4" screen? Android's got those too.Want to be able to switch out your battery? Android can still do that.....for now. People love having choices.

Well, for now. We are starting to see OEM'S lack easily replaceable batteries and lack of micro ad expansion. I wonder how long it will be before they get rid of these features all together?

Give me a phone that can stream full 1080p HD movies with screen on at full brightness for 24 hours straight on battery power, and 128 gb of internal storage, then i won't mind lack of Micro SD or lack of user replaceable batteries.

I predicted this a long time ago......they did the same as Microsoft did, spread your OS out on anything from junk to good hardware, its just a matter of time before they have the most marketshare. One thing they are doing wrong is not making money as Microsoft did licensing Windows and will probably come back to bite them at some point.

But I'd rather have quality over quantity any day and we see that quality with Mac Hardware and see it with iPhone hardware compared to the competition.

Toukale, we all know you are here to defend Apple. The reality is Apple is the profit leader. That's just fantastic for the Apple investor, but for the consumer Android is the better choice. We get cheaper, feature rich devices and in the end that's all most folks want.

Eric Schmidt continues to say dumb things.
Google is losing money on Android
All of the Android manufactuers except Samsung have lost millions of dollars making Android devices and Samsung won't say what their profits are.
Apple is making 80 to 90 percent of the profits on mobile. Google makes more money form Google services on iOS devices than they do from all those android handsets.

Pretty strange idea of winning.

Could you point us to your source for the statement about all manufacturers losing millions, or are you just pulling it directly from your ass?