A few hours ago, Google‘s Eric Schmidt had an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. During the 60 minute discussion, Schmidt touched on a lot of topics, including the current patent wars, Apple and Google Maps, and his experience of riding in a self-driving car. The interview was wrapped up with a Q & A session, in which Schmidt answered a variety of questions, some hypothetical, some relevant to current issues.
During the first half-hour, Schmidt, Mossberg and Swisher discussed the four big tech companies, which Schmidt identified as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google. When Microsoft‘s absence from the list was pointed out, he said the omission was deliberate, and due to the company’s failure to bring “state of the art products into the field.” Later during the Q&A, someone asked which tech company he would choose to be CEO of, to which Schmidt carefully side-stepped the question by complimenting each company. When asked, “So which one?”, referring to which company he would be choose to be CEO of, Schmidt responded: “Which one has the most cash? That would be Apple.”
Schmidt said, “They should have kept our maps.”
The conversation quickly switched to Apple and its decision to drop Google Maps, in which Schmidt had little to say, except that Google Maps are better than what Apple offers. He expressed uncertainty about whether Apple will allow the company’s map app in the App Store, stating that Apple has rejected some of their apps in the past. He did say that the two companies stay in communication.
The issue of the ongoing patent wars arose early in the second half of the interview, with Schmidt saying that they “annoyed” him. When asked specifically for his opinion on the court’s decision in the Apple – Samsung spat, he was unwilling to comment on the jury’s decision, except to say that it is ultimately the little companies that are suffering.
Finally, the interview wrapped up with a discussion of integrated software/hardware devices, such as the soon-to-be-released Surface devices from Microsoft. Schmidt said that what the world is seeing is an evolution into integrated hardware and software, as is the case with Google’s Chromebooks. Soon after this, self-driving cars were discussed, and Schmidt described the experience of riding in one as “life-changing.”
Check out AllThingsD for the full interview.