Google executive chair Eric Schmidt has claimed the current legal skirmish between Apple and Google for utter domination in the mobile industry is the only struggle worthy of mention and discussion, ignoring subjects related to Microsoft and Research In Motion.
In his privilege speech at the AllThingsD conference on Wednesday, Schmidt said as the two tech giants battle for supremacy of the mobile market, the eventual winners will be consumers.
“The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today,” he said.
“We’ve not seen platform/networks fights at this scale. The beneficiary is you guys. Prices are dropping rapidly. That’s a wonderful value proposition.”
The congenial remark emphasizes the hostile business relationship between Apple and Google during the last couple of years.
Previously seated as a board member on Apple, Schmidt immediately stepped down as the two firms’ contention rapidly grew; the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was angered with Android, believing Google’s mobile operating system is a copy of his company’s iOS.
The spat resulted to several high-profile patent lawsuits between Apple and Google’s Open Handset Alliance (OHA) partners who made Android-powered smartphones – notably Samsung – over device designs and software features.
Schmidt found the patent infringement cases troubling and called them harbinger of “death” for the industry.
“Software is always overlapping. There are estimates there are some 200,000 patents that cover devices in the market, so we are seeing fight after fight based on prior art and in every case there is some prior art that invalidates a patent,” he added.
“This is bad for innovation for the software industry, it eliminates choice.”
In his talk, Schmidt also mentioned some of Google’s other rivals, particularly on Microsoft’s efforts to regain traction in the mobile market with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and how unsure he is of its success rate.
“Let’s see what this new set of products does. Everyone I know has moved to the Mac in that space, so we will see how that plays out,” he said.
“They are a well-funded, smart, well-run company but they have not been able to bring out state-of-the-art products in the spaces we are talking about.”
Microsoft still has several mounting to do on its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems before both will launch later this Autumn.
Apple, on the other hand, will unveil – according to reports – the iPad Mini, a smaller version of its industry-dominating tablet, in a few weeks to rival the likes of the Nexus 7, a tablet built by Asus and launched by Google earlier this year.
Image: Toshihiro Gamo, via Flickr (CC)