The cold war between Google and Apple is thawing.
Eric Schmidt, the search provider’s executive chairman, said the companies are getting along better after they clashed over mobile software on the iPhone last year. Schmidt, who left Apple’s board in 2009, said he has “a lot of respect for Apple,” while speaking to a group of reporters today at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Moments later, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook walked by, prompting Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, to shout out: “Tim, everybody here wants to take your picture!” Cook complied, without saying anything.
“We got Tim to smile,” Schmidt said. “Always a good thing.”
Google and Apple have become growing rivals in recent years as their products increasingly compete in areas such as computers, mobile phones and online services. Google’s Android software, which it provides for free to handset makers, now commands more than 70 percent of the smartphone market while the iPhone has less than 20 percent, according to IDC.
The rivalry intensified last year when Apple stopped preloading Google’s mapping software onto iPhones and instead opted for its own service. Apple also quit shipping phones preinstalled with Google’s video-sharing service YouTube.
“We’re sort of in constant, constant business discussions on a long list of issues,” Schmidt said. “These are two proud, well-run, different companies.”